Cocaine worth HK$52 million seized in flat at Hong Kong private housing estate

Customs officers arrest man after finding 1kg slab of cocaine in his rucksack and a key to flat containing another 51 slabs.

Hong Kong customs officers have shut down a new narcotics storehouse at a private housing estate in Cheung Sha Wan, seizing HK$52 million (US$6.6 million) worth of cocaine and arresting a man.

Officers from customs’ drug investigation bureau intercepted a 31-year-old man in the car park of the estate at about 3pm on Wednesday before he got in his BMW car.

Assistant Superintendent Jeff Lau Leung-chi of the bureau on Thursday said a slab of cocaine weighing about 1kg (2.2lbs) was found in a rucksack he was allegedly carrying.

In his vehicle, officers found a key that led them to raid a one-bedroom flat in the estate.

“Inside the flat’s bedroom officers found six boxes containing 51 slabs of suspected cocaine on a bed. Each slab weighed 1.15kg,” Lau said.

In addition to the slab found in the rucksack, he said 60kg of suspected cocaine was discovered in the operation. The seized narcotic had an estimated street value of HK$52 million.

He said the investigation suggested the flat had been used by a local drug trafficking syndicate to store narcotics for less than three weeks.

Lau said they were still investigating the source of the seized drug, adding that the investigation was under way and further arrests were possible.

As of Thursday afternoon, the man was still being detained on suspicion of trafficking in a dangerous drug – an offence punishable by up to life in jail and a HK$5 million fine.

On Wednesday last week, police seized 424kg of cocaine worth about HK$366 million hidden mostly in a hole in the ground at a warehouse in the New Territories, making it the largest haul of the drug last year.

Officers from the narcotics bureau found 396 slabs of the drug – weighing around 1kg each – concealed in a hole in the Yuen Long warehouse. The hole was covered by a wooden board and some debris, with a car parked on top of it.

Another 28kg of cocaine was later discovered in a metal hut occupied by the same drug trafficking syndicate in the same district. Police arrested four men and one woman in the operation.

Between January and October last year, police and customs confiscated 976kg of cocaine, down 43.8 per cent from 1,736kg they found in the same period of 2021.