Hong Kong officials seize drugs hidden in industrial device

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong customs officials seized about 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of methamphetamine hidden in an industrial device being sent from Mexico, authorities said Monday.

Part of the device, an electromagnetic separator that removes metal particles from other materials, was hollowed out and contained crystal meth worth an estimated 60 million Hong Kong dollars ($7.7 million), they said.

The opening was discovered when the device was X-rayed on Oct. 24 after arriving at Hong Kong’s airport, customs officials said. With the assistance of the Fire Services Department, officers took about four hours to demolish the device layer by layer and found the drugs inside.

The drug seizure was the fourth involving large machines sent from countries in the Americas this year, according to Alan Lam, the Customs and Excise Department’s airport investigation division commander.

“The drug syndicate racked their brains and made every possible effort to use different logistics companies across the globe to transfer the goods to Hong Kong. Then they use other logistics companies to send the goods to other countries in order to make the tracking process of law enforcement officers more challenging,” he said.

He did not specify the final destination of the recently seized drugs.

Last month, officials seized about $5.9 million worth of crystal meth concealed in a shipment of electrical transformers that was bound for Australia from Mexico.

Days later, they found 1.8 metric tons (2 tons) of liquid methamphetamine stored in bottles labeled coconut water that arrived in the city by sea. The haul, estimated to be worth 1.1 billion ($140 million), was Hong Kong’s largest-ever meth seizure.

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