Crime Drug trafficking

Hongkongers ‘promised free tour of Maldives to smuggle cocaine’

Three Hongkongers were arrested for trying to smuggle 7kg of suspected cocaine into the city after being promised a free tour of the Maldives in return, police said on Tuesday.

Two men, aged 21 and 23, and a 21-year-old woman were intercepted at the airport’s customs clearance counter at about 9am on Monday after they collected their check-in luggage.

Senior Inspector Chan Mei-shi of the force’s Narcotics Bureau said 16 bags carrying the drugs were in secret compartments of the men’s suitcases. She said the consignment had an estimated street value of HK$8 million (US$1 million).

 

“We believe the men were hired by a drug trafficking syndicate and were responsible for bringing the haul into Hong Kong from the Maldives,” she said.

Police arrested the men for drug trafficking.

Officers suspected the woman of helping and she was arrested for conspiracy in drug trafficking.

Chan said an initial investigation showed the three were recruited by a syndicate via a friend referral.

“They were offered free return tickets to the Maldives together with free accommodation and food,” she said, adding the trio were paid from HK$10,000 to HK$50,000 each as a reward and provided with a tour of the island nation.

With the approach of Christmas and the New Year, Chan appealed to youngsters not to fall for criminal get-rich-quick schemes.

“Criminals will offer youngsters huge rewards to lure them into bringing illegal drugs in or out of Hong Kong,” Chan said.

“Drug trafficking is a serious offence and carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and an HK$5 million fine.”

As of noon on Tuesday, the suspects were being detained for questioning and had not been charged.

According to the latest statistics, local authorities seized 537kg of cocaine in the first 10 months of this year, up 78.4 per cent compared with 301kg in the same period last year.

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Source URL: Google News

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