Customs officers in Hong Kong discovered 11kg of cocaine worth $1.5M hidden in a male passenger’s electric wheelchair as he tried to navigate through security.
The large haul of drugs was seized at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) on October 14, 2023, after the passenger aroused suspicion among staff.
According to the Customs and Excise Department the 51-year-old male passenger arrived in Hong Kong from Sint Maarten via Paris.
Customs officers found the batch of suspected cocaine concealed inside the interlinings of the cushions and the back of his checked-in electric wheelchair.
The electric wheelchair was reportedly among two pieces of checked-in baggage that the man had in his possession.
The South China Morning Post reported that an x-ray of the wheelchair showed that the seat cushion and backrest stitching had been unpicked and sewn back up again.
Under Hong Kong’s Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, trafficking in a dangerous drug is a serious offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of over $600,000 and life imprisonment.
“Following the resumption of normal travel and exchanges with the mainland and other parts of the world, the number of visitors to Hong Kong has also been increasing steadily. Customs will continue to apply a risk assessment approach and focus on selecting passengers from high-risk regions for clearance to combat transnational drug trafficking activities,” a statement by Hong Kong customs said.
An investigation is ongoing.