An international anti-drug trafficking operation between Hong Kong and overseas law enforcement agencies has led to the seizure of crystal meth worth HK$170 million (US$26.7 million) from Mexico bound for Australia and the arrest of four people, customs has revealed.

Customs officers on Monday said they confiscated 240kg (529 lbs) of the drug in the city, which was concealed in synthetic leather rolls. Three local residents were also arrested on Thursday and Friday last week.

The transnational operation also led Australian authorities to arrest a 28-year-old man in Sydney last Wednesday.

Hong Kong police seize meth worth HK$123 million, in biggest such haul this year

Superintendent Henry Fong Heung-wing of customs’ drug investigation bureau on Monday said the street value of the haul would have surged two to three times if it was sold in Australia.

The amount marked the largest single seizure of illegal drugs by customs this year, he added.

He said investigations with overseas law enforcement agencies were ongoing, and further arrests had not been ruled out.


Customs began investigating the shipment after receiving intelligence from their overseas counterparts in July.

After spending about 10 days analysing data in the pre-declaration system for shipments from America, they identified the suspicious package from Mexico, which was then selected for inspection when it arrived in the city on July 12.

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The shipment was declared to be carrying more than 600 artificial leather rolls.

“Forty of the rolls were found to have been concealing illegal drugs. Each roll was hiding 91 vacuumed plastic packages and each package contained 65 grams of suspected crystal meth,” Fong said.

The operation resulted in the seizure of 240kg of the narcotic in total, with an estimated street value of HK$170 million in Hong Kong, he added.


According to the shipping document, the consignee is a textile company in the city.

About 100 customs officers were then deployed to work around the clock for the next three weeks to monitor the package.


It was transported to three container yards in Tuen Mun, Tin Shui Wan and Kwai Chung, but no one collected the cargo.

As investigation revealed that the shipment was bound for Sydney, which prompted customs to immediately seek assistance from Australian authorities to monitor the package.

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Fong said the shipment left Hong Kong without the drug on August 2 and arrived in Sydney on August 13. It was picked up for delivery on August 21.


Two days later, Australian authorities arrested a 28-year-old man who was accused of arranging the delivery and renting premises to receive the package.

In the following days, Hong Kong customs officers swooped into action and arrested three men in connection to the case.

One of the men was the owner of the textile company, while the other two were in charge of two logistics companies. The three residents have been released on bail pending further investigation.


Superintendent Fong said the seizure showed the effectiveness of international cooperation between Hong Kong and overseas law enforcement agencies.

He said they would continue to cooperate and exchange intelligence with overseas agencies to combat international drug trafficking at its source.

Figures show the seizure of five major illegal drugs in the city – cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamine, heroin and ketamine – surged by two-thirds to 3,712kg in the first five months of this year, from 2,227kg in the same period in 2022.