A 19-year-old man has been arrested after a parcel containing HK$570,000 (S$100,208) worth of cannabis was airmailed to his Hong Kong home from the United States.
The haul was detected at Hong Kong International Airport on Monday after customs officers selected a parcel bound for the suspect’s public housing accommodation in Chai Wan from New York for a routine inspection.
Inspector Heung Ping-lung, of the Customs and Excise Department, said on Thursday evening that 3kg of cannabis buds were found hidden in three vacuum-sealed bags inside the parcel, which was declared to be carrying clothes.
He believed the bags were used to contain the smell of the drug in an attempt to avoid detection.
On Wednesday, the man was arrested at his home by a customs officer posing as a courier delivering the parcel.
The suspect had been released on bail pending further investigation.
In Hong Kong, trafficking in a dangerous drug carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a HK$5 million (US$636,958) fine.
“Customs will maintain close contact with Hongkong Post and the logistics industries to step up action against drug trafficking through postal parcels or express courier channels,” a Hong Kong customs spokesman said.
Customs officers confiscated a total of 141kg of cannabis in 2018.
Members of the public may report any suspected drug trafficking activities to customs’ 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.
The latest figures from the Customs and Excise Department showed that 137kg of cannabis – with an estimated street value of more than HK$30 million (US$3.8 million) – was confiscated by customs officers in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 500 per cent compared with 22.7kg in the same period last year.
In Hong Kong, a gram of cannabis is sold on the street for about HK$280 (US$36). A source said the drug could be bought for as little as US$5 per gram in the United States.