Customs seize huge cocaine haul in heavy equipment

Customs officers said on Wednesday that they had seized more than 100 kilogrammes of cocaine at the airport, describing the bust as the largest airborne trafficking case involving the drug in 20 years.

The department says X-ray scans at the airport uncovered 110kg of cocaine sealed inside two giant hydraulic devices that weighed 1,500kg each. The drugs are estimated to be worth around HK$130 million, and are believed to be meant for the domestic market.

Officers said the Fire Services Department’s help was needed to cut through steel, iron and another six inches of metals to reach the cocaine.

“The apparent flawless way of hiding the drugs did make it more difficult for Customs,” said the department’s head of drug investigation bureau, Lee Kam-wing.

Authorities said there were several red flags.

“The cargo was not carrying high-tech products, it’s relatively more expensive to ship via air, and South America is not a manufacturing hub for heavy equipment,” explained Cheung Tin-ho, a customs airport divisional commander.

He said the cargo was addressed to a construction projects company that was set up in Hong Kong just eight months ago.

Two men – a 50-year-old secretary and a 51-year-old director from the company – were arrested.