Hong Kong police seize cocaine worth $77 million
Hong Kong police have made their biggest ever cocaine bust, seizing more than 1,200 pounds (560 kilograms) of the drug and arresting eight people
Police said the five men and three women arrested included five Mexican nationals, an American and a Colombian. They were to appear in court Monday.
Narcotics bureau officers acting on a tip carried out raids at a suburban warehouse and other locations across the city starting Friday, police said. Police said the cocaine seized in the raids was worth about 600 million Hong Kong dollars ($77 million).
The Mexicans and the American were charged with drug trafficking. News reports said the other two were a Colombian woman and her Chinese husband, both Hong Kong residents.
Police said the warehouse was believed to be a drug packaging and storage center. Police said the drugs were hidden in heaps of plastic engine oil or automotive transmission fluid containers for recycling, according to local newspapers.
"Traffickers have used different ways to disguise their dealings, but this is the first time police have seen recycled materials used," Narcotics Bureau Chief Superintendent John Paul Ribeiro said, according to the South China Morning Post.
Police said it may take more than 100 officers up to two more days to finish searching the 10,000-square foot (930-square meter) warehouse, the Hong Kong Standard reported.
Ribeiro said the suspects had been in touch with local dealers but wouldn't rule out the possibility that the drugs were destined for mainland China or other countries, the Post reported.
Drug trafficking carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of HK$5 million ($644,000) in Hong Kong. The seizure tops last year's haul of 820 pounds (372 kilograms) of cocaine from a suburban house.