Hong Kong teenagers arrested, 10.5kg of ketamine seized during crackdown on drug syndicate

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Two teenage boys were among three Hong Kong residents arrested in a crackdown on a drug trafficking syndicate with the seizure of more than HK$6 million (US$765,000) worth of narcotics in a public housing flat, police said on Thursday.

One of the suspects was a 17-year-old boy who was intercepted by officers at So Uk Estate in Cheung Sha Wan on Tuesday night. Police seized 11 bags containing 2.8kg of ketamine allegedly in his possession.

In a follow-up raid on one of the flats in the public housing estate, officers confiscated another 7.7kg of ketamine, according to Senior Inspector Sit Tsz-kit of the Kowloon West special duty squad.

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“An initial investigation suggested the flat had been used for drug trafficking activities for about a month,” he said.

Sit said the 10.5kg haul had an estimated street value of HK$6.1 million.

The teenager, who is a waiter, was detained on suspicion of trafficking in a dangerous drug – an offence punishable by up to life in jail and a HK$5 million fine.

In the early hours of Thursday, officers arrested a 22-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy in a hotel room in Kwai Chung after a follow-up investigation.

Police arrested three people, including 2 teenage boys. Photo: Handout
Police arrested three people, including 2 teenage boys. Photo: Handout

According to the force, the 22-year-old man was the suspected ringleader of a drug trafficking syndicate and the 16-year-old boy was his assistant. The pair, who are unemployed, were arrested for conspiracy to traffic an illegal drug.

As of Thursday afternoon, the three suspects were still being held for questioning. An active investigation was under way.

The senior inspector said the investigation showed one of the teenage boys knew the alleged mastermind from playing online games before being recruited into drug trafficking.

Sit said police noticed there was a trend of young people being arrested for drug-related offences.

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“We believe crime syndicates use money to lure young people into drug trafficking activities,” he said.

Sit urged parents to pay more attention to their children to prevent them from being exploited by criminals.

On May 11, police released a report detailing the city’s overall crime situation, noting that offences committed by young people fell 37.5 per cent in the first quarter from a year ago.

But the force said there were still cases where vulnerable young people had paid a high price for taking part in criminal activities.

Police highlighted cases in which four 13-year-old male students were arrested on suspicion of trafficking illegal drugs, and 11 girls aged between 12 and 15 were lured into prostitution. Ten of the girls were students.

Describing youth crime as a complex social issue, police said different sectors of the community needed to collaborate in the use of education and publicity to help cultivate a law-abiding attitude among youngsters.

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The force also revealed on Thursday that officers from the Narcotics Bureau arrested two men in a separate operation the day before, seizing more than HK$25 million worth of crystal meth after discovering quantities of the drug hidden inside tea bags.

One of the suspects was intercepted after leaving his flat in Hung Hom. Officers discovered 13kg of meth concealed in 13 tea bags allegedly in his possession. Inside the man’s residence, police found another 35kg of the drug, which is also known as Ice.

The total haul had an estimated street value of more than HK$25 million, police said.

Officers also conducted a follow-up raid on a village house in Ma On Shan on the same day, arresting the second man and seizing about HK$80,000 in cash, which police suspected to be criminal proceeds.

As of Thursday afternoon, the pair were still being held for questioning.

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