Record 700-kilogram meth haul netted in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong customs officials have seized about 700 kilograms of suspected crystal meth sent from Mexico, authorities said Sunday, the biggest haul of the drug in the city’s history.

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The meth was hidden inside two consignments of heavy industrial gear, said Lee Kam-wing, head of the customs department’s drug investigation bureau.

They arrived in the city by air and sea within one week in March.

The equipment was arranged to ship from Mexico with a mainland Chinese logistics company, which was also asked to find a Hong Kong company to receive and store it, Lee said.

“In that way the drug dealers did not have to show up at all... it’s very cunning,” Lee said.

Nearly 450 kg of liquid meth was found in three transformers -- each weighing 500 kg -- at the city’s airport.

That led officers to 253 kg of meth powder with a similar import pattern, which had been stowed inside shock absorption rubbers and had already been transported to a warehouse in a rural area near the mainland border.

Customs officers had to call in firefighters to saw their way into the equipment.

“The syndicate used such heavy industrial equipment with complicated structures that was difficult to open up for one single purpose -- to avoid examination by customs,” Lee said.

Two men working for local logistics companies handling the shipments were arrested and released on bail, as Lee vowed to chase down the overseas syndicate in collaboration with mainland authorities.

Hong Kong Customs have seized 1.2 tons of various drugs so far this year, 4.6 times more than the same period last year.

Meth, the second most popular drug in Hong Kong, tops this year’s seizure list with 814 kg so far, an elevenfold increase on 71 kg in the first quarter last year.

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