Hong Kong: record methamphetamine seizure, as pandemic disrupts trafficking

More than half a ton of methamphetamine was seized in a container in Hong Kong, authorities said on Monday, explaining that the pandemic is forcing traffickers to charter larger shipments of drugs, being unable to transport the “mules” carrying smaller quantities.

The narcotics, whose resale value is according to some media at 300 million Hong Kong dollars (33 million euros) were discovered in a container which also contained a declared cargo of bags of cement.

It was supposed to go from Vietnam to Australia, but its unusual route had raised suspicion.

The container had left Mexico before passing through South Korea and staying three months in Vietnam. He then headed for Hong Kong.

“We believe that the traffickers have sought to thwart customs investigations and surveillance by setting up this extraordinarily complicated route,” Barry Chu, head of the former British colony’s anti-narcotics service, told reporters.

He explained that the pandemic, by considerably reducing the possibilities of international travel for individuals, had also deprived drug traffickers of “mules”, which are the most efficient way to move small cargoes.

“This year, due to travel restrictions, most of the traffic has been carried through freight, postal services or express couriers,” he said.

This was how most of the 244 kilograms of meth that had been seized in the last nine months by the Hong Kong authorities before last week’s capture were circulating, he said.

Australia is a major destination for methamphetamine, which sells for five times the price in Hong Kong.

Most of the meth that circulates in Asia comes from the “Golden Triangle”, an area on the border of Laos, Burma and Thailand. But drugs from Mexico, which have traditionally been sold in North America, are increasingly found in Asia.

No arrests have yet been made in connection with last week’s seizure.

02/11/2020 10:17:49 – Hong Kong (AFP) – © 2020 AFP

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