A handicapped man has been detained by customs agents at Hong Kong’s International Airport after they allegedly found US$1.53 million in cocaine concealed within the wheelchair’s cushions.
On Sunday, Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department announced that a 51-year-old handicapped man pretending to be the director of a car rental company had arrived in the city from the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten via the French capital of Paris.
According to customs, the man packed the electric wheelchair as one of his two pieces of checked luggage despite the fact that he was already using crutches. However, after an X-ray of the chair raised eyebrows, authorities decided to look into the matter further.
Police examined the chair and found 11 kilogrammes (24 pounds) of cocaine stashed in hidden compartments in the seat cushion and backrest.
Man detained on suspicion of trafficking dangerous substance; maximum penalty is HK$5 million fine and life in jail. The handicapped man reportedly told customs officers that he had borrowed the wheelchair from a friend.
Following the lifting of limitations earlier this year in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, the city has seen a rise in visitors from high-risk regions, prompting the department to pledge to enhance checks on such individuals.
In August, a 65-year-old man was detained for reportedly trying to smuggle 2 kilogrammes (4.4 pounds) of cocaine (worth approximately HK$2.1 million) concealed under three book covers.
In the linings of three book covers in his backpack, customs officials allegedly discovered 2 kilogrammes of cocaine with a street worth of around HK$2.1 million.
The traveller, who had flown in from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was detained at customs.
Cocaine is a highly effective and illegal stimulant. Like the rest of the developed world, it is considered a Schedule I substance in Hong Kong. Cocaine is banned in Hong Kong in all its forms, including possession, distribution, and trafficking.
The best thing you can do for yourself or a loved one who is battling substance misuse or addiction is to get assistance.
Individuals struggling with drug addiction and related concerns can find help in Hong Kong through a variety of rehabilitation and treatment programmes. If you need advice or assistance, you may want to contact your local health department or a support group.
The maximum penalty for possession of cocaine in Hong Kong is a fine of HKD 1,000,000 (about USD $128,000) and imprisonment for up to 7 years for a first offence. The sanctions could get harsher for repeat offenders.
Cocaine trafficking carries a maximum penalty of life in jail and a fine of up to HKD 5,000,000 (about USD $640,000).