Hong Kong officials seize 61 kilograms of heroin shipped from Bangkok

Photo via the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Hong Kong customs officials seized 61 kilograms of heroin found hidden in instant rice vermicelli seasoning packets in a shipment from Bangkok. Following up on orders to work with foreign agencies on drug trafficking, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board is requesting more information from Hong Kong authorities on the case.

Customs officials in Hong Kong seized the drugs from a seaborne consignment on July 22. Reports say the heroin has a street value of around 2.1 billion baht, or US$65 million. The shipment had been declared as snacks.

Two men and a woman, between the ages of 31 and 42, were arrested in Kwai Chung for alleged involvement in trafficking the drugs, according to the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The suspects face charges of attempting to traffic a dangerous drug, which under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a US$5 million fine.

ONCB secretary-general Wichai Chaimongkol says they are asking Hong Kong authorities which port the drugs were sent from and which company sent was involved. The ONCB would then investigate, he says.

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The ONCB has collaborated with Hong Kong on several cases. Wichai says the group effort led to a recent drug bust in Hong Kong where crystal methamphetamine was found hidden in picture frames.

Following the major drug bust in Australia last May, where more than 300 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden in electric water heaters and barbeque grills was seized off a Thai cargo ship, Thailand’s justice minister ordered authorities to investigate transnational drug trafficking with routes in Thailand.

Since then, Thai law enforcement officers have made several busts involving shipments destined for overseas. Many of the drug seizures have been at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri.

Recent drug busts include…

  • 10 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden in floor mattresses was seized at a shipping company in Bangkok. Officers say the drugs were being prepared to be shipped to Hong Kong.
  • 314 kilograms of heroin was found hidden in paint buckets at Chon Buri’s Laem Chabang port. Officers say the drugs were en route to Australia.
  • 6,040 amphetamine pills hidden in the seams of sunhats were seized at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Officers say the packages had been mailed from Laos and were en route to Isreal.
  • In two separate drug busts at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, officers found methamphetamine hidden in motorcycle parts en route to other countries. In one seizure, 580 grams of methamphetamine was found in the hollow metal motorcycle parts en route to New Zealand. In the other, 750 grams of crystal methamphetamine was found in metal parts en route to Australia.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post| Government of Hong Kong

Crime News

Tanutam Thawan

Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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