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Vietnamese customs arrests S’pore smuggler, seizes 3kg heroin worth $470,000

Vietnamese customs arrests S’pore smuggler, seizes 3kg heroin worth $470,000

HANOI:  Vietnamese customs officers discovered nearly 3 kg of heroin stashed in peanut and durian sweets in the luggage of a Singaporean man who was about to depart from Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

Loke Dah Lee, 38, was arrested while carrying out procedures to leave Vietnam for Kaoshiung, Taiwan, on Flight VN580.

Airport customs officers decided to manually inspect Loke’s luggage after finding suspicious signs in it.

Inspectors then found numerous grains of peanuts and pieces of durian sweets packed in two plastic bags.

As the food looked doubtful, they examined them carefully and discovered a white powdery substance inside.

A test of the powder, which weighed 2.89 kg in total, showed that it was heroin, customs officers said.

The value of the heroin was estimated at VND10 billion (US$470,000).

The airport security force later handed Loke and the heroin over to the city’s antidrug police for investigation.

Many similar cases in which customs officers at the same airport have caught air passengers attempting to carry drugs out of or into Vietnam have occurred recently.

The most recent case was on October 5 when a Thai woman, S.A., was caught carrying 1.73 kg of cocaine hidden in a carton of incense packed in her suitcase.

She told police that she had brought the cocaine through four countries without being detected before arriving in Vietnam.

The estimated value of the cocaine is about VND11 billion ($517,000), police said.

A large amount of cocaine was also discovered in the luggage of another Thai woman who arrived at the airport on July 30.

The drugs, weighing 3.97 kg, were found hidden in two backpacks carried by Pantimoong Narisara, 25, who flew in from Qatar, a country in the Middle East.

The drugs were valued at about VND25 billion ($1.18 million).

As in the case of S.A., the Thai woman also told investigators that she had passed through multiple airports in several countries with the cocaine without being detected before arriving in Vietnam.