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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Hong Kong customs arrests man after US$1 million Brazil cocaine bedsheet bust

Hong Kong customs arrests man after US$1 million Brazil cocaine bedsheet bust

Drugs detected in the checked-in suitcase of man, 66, after his arrival from the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo via Paris.
Customs officers at Hong Kong airport have arrested an arrival from Brazil and seized 10kg (22lbs) of suspected liquid cocaine worth HK$8 million (US$1 million) soaked into bedsheets in his luggage, the fifth passenger from the South American country caught for alleged drug trafficking in a week.

The drugs were detected on Sunday in the checked-in suitcase of the 66-year-old man after his arrival from the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo via Paris, a spokesman of the Customs and Excise Department said.

Customs officers found 17 bedsheets which had been soaked in suspected liquid cocaine, leading to the man’s arrest.

The bedsheets were stained and 40 to 50 per cent heavier than usual, triggering an examination by officers.

A 54-year-old jobless expatriate woman who was believed to be the receiver of the haul was arrested in a Tin Shui Wai hotel on Monday morning.

The drugs would have been used to supply entertainment venues in the city’s northwestern region, customs said.

The man was the fifth suspected drug trafficker from Brazil to be detained at the airport in a week, bringing the total number of overseas air passengers arrested for the offence to 14 this year.

In a similar case on Friday, a 76-year-old man who arrived from Sao Paulo was arrested after liquid cocaine disguised as skincare and hair products was found in his luggage. The retiree had made stops in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Bangkok.

During customs clearance, officers seized 1.8kg (4lbs) of suspected liquid cocaine with an estimated local street value of HK$1.4 million (US$178,520) hidden in five bottles of lotion.

In a separate case, two women, aged 22 and 24, and a man, 22, who also arrived in the city from Brazil last Monday and Tuesday, were found to have HK$1.3 million worth of cocaine concealed in their bodies.

Customs last week said it had noticed traffickers had recently stepped up the use of air travellers to smuggle illegal drugs into Hong Kong.

Those convicted of trafficking in a dangerous drug face up to life in prison and a HK$5 million fine.

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