Hong Kong customs have seized another HK$80 million (US$10.2 million) worth of cocaine, taking their total haul of the drug in April alone to 421kg, valued at about HK$420 million, as officers battle an international syndicate that has joined forces with local gangs to expand the Asian market, a source says.
The latest raid, in Tai Kok Tsui on Monday night, was the third major operation in a month and just four days after the Customs and Excise Department seized HK$240 million worth of the drug, a record for the city centre.
The total amount of cocaine confiscated in the three big raids in April outweighed the 255.4kg seized in the whole of 2018.
A senior customs source said a drug syndicate based in Mexico had recently lined up with local triad gangs, including the Wo Shing Wo, hoping to smuggle cocaine to nearby Asian countries via Hong Kong.
“Local gangs can help make logistical arrangements as they have good knowledge of the region,” the insider said, adding the cocaine involved was mainly shipped from South America.
“Locals also know better how to minimise risks or how to smuggle the drugs in cheaper ways. They can therefore advise the masterminds.”
The source believed small amounts of the drugs seized were destined for local markets as the syndicate had been supplying cocaine to local gangs for some time.
Locals also know better how to minimise risks or how to smuggle the drugs in cheaper ways. They can therefore advise the masterminds
Senior customs source
“By helping the ring to divert the narcotics to other countries, the local triads can source their drugs at a cheaper price,” the insider said. “We have arrested some key figures but expect more raids and arrests to follow.”
In Hong Kong, the street price of cocaine is about HK$1 million a kilogram.