Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Apr 13, 2024

Hong Kong customs seized 7 tonnes of narcotics in 2022, warns of drug cartel team up

Hong Kong customs seized 7 tonnes of narcotics in 2022, warns of drug cartel team up

Customs commissioner says department last year netted total of 6.9 tonnes of drugs worth HK$3.5 billion, up from 4 tonnes in 2021.

Hong Kong customs seized nearly seven tonnes of drugs in 2022, a roughly 70 per cent jump against a year ago, but detection had become more difficult as drug cartels joined forces to use more “circuitous” trafficking routes during the Covid-19 pandemic, the department’s chief on Wednesday said.

Commissioner for Customs and Excise Louise Ho Pui-shan revealed last year’s haul of 6.9 tonnes was worth HK$3.5 billion (US$445 million), up from four tonnes worth HK$2.4 billion seized in 2021. But the total number of cases involved only rose by 3 per cent, from 906 to 931, over the same time period.

Ho explained that during the most severe period of the Covid-19 pandemic, governments around the world adopted stringent entry restrictions, forcing drug cartels to change their smuggling strategies.

“Before the pandemic, they mostly relied on the passenger, especially by air, and cargo channels. In 2020, they shipped drugs by air courier and mail services. In 2021, they switched to using large cargo by air and sea, a method we also continue to notice in 2022,” she said.

“The number of major cases detected among air and sea freight has significantly increased involving mostly crystal meth and cocaine. The amount of money involved has also been becoming more massive.”

Among the drugs seized, authorities found 3127.2kg of crystal meth, 1016.3kg of cocaine, 807.8kg of cannabis, 638.5kg of ketamine, 367,966 tablets of Ecstasy and 91.6kg of heroin.

Commissioner of Customs and Excise Louise Ho.

In October last year, authorities seized 1.8 tonnes of liquid meth hidden in cartons of coconut water and worth HK$1.1 billion, a record haul.

Ho said she expected that as the pandemic had subsided and travel restrictions around the world eased, the amount of drugs seized from passengers would rise.

“In 2021 when the pandemic was relatively more serious, we only found 3.1kg of drugs among passengers. But in 2022, there was 25kg, which is a seven-time increase,” she said.

As multinational drug cartels had also been working more closely during the health crisis, drug trafficking had grown more internationalised and syndicated, Ho added, stressing the importance of cross-regional law-enforcement operations.

Authorities found it more challenging to detect drugs as the trafficking routes had become “circuitous” instead of point to point, the commissioner explained.

“We now need to make use of big data to identify suspicious routes and cargo, as well as strengthen inspection training for frontline officers,” she said, adding customs had bought additional hi-tech equipment to allow officers to carry out more precise inspections of suspicious cargo.

She noted the tactics used by syndicates had grown more sophisticated, with drugs being stashed in large machinery, food and daily necessities.

The number of illicit cigarettes seized in 2022 also ballooned by 71 per cent from 427 million to a record high of 732 million, worth HK$2 billion, despite the number of cases dropping 14 per cent to 3,436.

Ho said no substantial increase had been observed in terms of illicit cigarette activities after the tobacco tax was raised last week, adding the department had prepared to step up inspections at import, storage, wholesale and retail levels.

The number of cases linked to other smuggling goods had fallen from 233 to 226 last year, and the total value dropped by 44 per cent from HK$2.3 billion to HK$1.3 billion.

As checkpoints with mainland China had fully reopened, customs officers had been collecting intelligence on parallel traders and formulated an operation plan with counterparts on the other side of the border, she said.

They had also set up a response team to deal with complaints about poor business practices targeting tourists and would step up patrols and promotion, she added.

Separately, customs said they had experienced difficulties filling job vacancies. The number of applications for the positions of inspector and customs officer had fallen by 10 and 30 per cent respectively, they said, attributing the drop to a competitive job market.

Retired officers on short-term contracts would be recruited and promotion drives would be carried out at schools and universities in the Greater Bay Area to address the manpower shortage, the department added.

The bay area refers to Beijing’s initiative to integrate Hong Kong, Macau and nine southern Chinese cities into an economic and business hub.


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.