Hong Kong police seized more than HK$107 million (US$13.7 million) worth of illegal drugs and arrested five suspects over the past two days in a series of operations against two local trafficking syndicates.
The bulk of the drugs – nearly HK$79 million worth – was seized from one gang that was suspected of operating out of a hotel room and using unwitting workers from logistics companies for deliveries across the city.
Superintendent Chan Kong-ming, of the force’s narcotics bureau, said it was a new tactic used by traffickers in an effort to avoid detection by the authorities.
He said the syndicate rented many warehouses in different parts of the city to store the drugs, then placed delivery orders with the logistics companies instructing workers over the phone to go to the facilities to collect them.
“With the use of surveillance cameras installed in the warehouses, the gang could remotely control and instruct delivery men to enter the premises to pick up goods concealing drugs,” he said.
Chan said the entrances of the warehouses were fitted with smart locks, and the delivery workers were given passwords by phone to gain access. The drugs were then delivered to other traffickers or moved to another warehouse.
“Core members of this syndicate did not need to show up for these deliveries,” Chan said. “Drugs were concealed in daily necessities such as pillows and shoes. It was not easily detected from outside.”
Following an investigation, officers intercepted a 26-year-old man after he collected a box from a logistics company worker at Choi Ying Estate in Kowloon Bay on Wednesday afternoon.
In the box, police found 3kg of suspected cocaine hidden in plastic boots. In a raid on the man’s flat in the same public housing estate, officers seized another 580 grams of ketamine.
At the same time, officers raided a hotel room in Kwun Tong and arrested a 29-year-old man who was suspected of being a core member of the syndicate. Inside the room, police seized three mobile phones believed to have been used to control the drug trafficking activities.
Narcotics bureau officers then raided 16 industrial units in Kowloon and the New Territories, seizing a total of 53kg of suspected cocaine from six of them.
In a follow-up raid, police arrested another two men, both aged 19, and seized 4.5kg of suspected crystal meth, 6kg of suspected cocaine and 44 grams of suspected ketamine, along with packaging equipment.
Meanwhile, in the crackdown on the other syndicate, officers arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of drug trafficking after seizing a HK$28.4 million haul in Tsuen Wan on the same day, according to the bureau’s Chief Inspector Ip Sau-lan.
Police said the investigation was continuing and further arrests were possible.