Hong Kong customs has arrested a 65-year-old man who arrived from Ethiopia for allegedly trafficking 2kg (4.4lbs) of cocaine worth HK$2.1 million (US$268,623) hidden in three book covers, authorities said on Sunday.

The traveller arrived at the Hong Kong International Airport from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday and was arrested as he went through customs.

Customs officers found 2kg of suspected cocaine, with an estimated market value of HK$2.1 million, concealed in the linings of three book covers in his rucksack.

He has been charged with one count of trafficking in a dangerous drug.

Customs will focus on selecting people who arrive from high-risk regions to combat international drug trafficking. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

He is expected to appear before a magistrate at West Kowloon Court on Monday.

Customs said, as the number of visitors to the city increases, they would continue to focus on selecting travellers from high-risk regions for clearance to combat international drug smuggling.

The number of people arrested and the quantity of drugs seized in recent times has seen a sharp rise as air travel neared pre-pandemic levels.


Customs officers at Hong Kong International Airport arrested 30 arriving travellers in the first six months of this year, up from seven in the same period in 2022.

Hong Kong police seize HK$18.5 million worth of cocaine at public housing flat

They smuggled nearly 46kg of narcotics worth HK$39 million, compared to the 5.7kg of drugs valued at HK$5.9 million in the first half of last year.

A total of 20 people were arrested over the whole of 2022.

At least two tourists allegedly trafficked drugs concealed in biscuit tins in July.


A 26-year-old man who arrived from Macau was arrested for smuggling 6.3kg of suspected cocaine worth about HK$6.9 million hidden inside four biscuit tins.

Customs arrests man for allegedly smuggling cocaine in biscuit tins into Hong Kong

The man travelled from Istanbul, Turkey, to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia before arrival in Macau. He took a ferry to Hong Kong and was arrested at the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan.


A 62-year-old woman flying from Copenhagen, Denmark, was arrested after authorities found suspected cocaine in three tins of biscuits and three containers of crisps in a plastic bag among her belongings.

The drugs weighed about 6.5kg and had an estimated value of HK$7 million.

Hong Kong customs seizes HK$16 million worth of ketamine hidden in driveshafts

Authorities also seized HK$16 million worth of ketamine stashed inside 12 driveshafts that arrived at the airport from Germany last month.


A 35-year-old woman was later charged with smuggling 30kg of the drug.

Trafficking in a dangerous drug is a serious offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $5 million and life imprisonment.