Hong Kong police investigating indoor Marijuana farm syndicate after 2 arrests made and 991 Cannabis plants seized in New Territories raid
Hong Kong police are investigating a drug ring after a raid on an indoor marijuana farm in the New Territories led to two arrests and the seizure of 991 cannabis plants, which the force says were destined for local consumption.
Inspector Chu Siu-lung of the Narcotics Bureau on Thursday revealed details about the farm officers had raided in Sheung Shui on Wednesday. “Inside the 3,000 sq ft warehouse, there were three tents used to house cannabis plants of different growing stages.”
The plants weighed about 84kg in total and had an estimated street value of HK$14 million (US$1.8 million), he said.
Acting on intelligence, officers had swooped on the single-storey warehouse at Ying Pun Tsuen off Fan Kam Road.
He said machines that produced carbon dioxide, solar lights and nutrient solution were seized along with other items that were used to speed up plant growth.
Police arrested two men aged 25 and 29 in the warehouse. According to police, the elder suspect was the ringleader of a drug trafficking syndicate and the other man was hired to work as a farmer in the indoor cannabis farm.
The “farmer”, from Vietnam, is the holder of a recognisance form, a temporary identification document issued by the department that permits them to remain in the city, but forbids them to work.
The two suspects were detained on suspicion of cultivating cannabis plants and trafficking in a dangerous drug. As of midday on Thursday, the pair were still being held for questioning.
Chu said the investigation suggested the syndicate brought cannabis seeds from overseas and turned the warehouse into an indoor marijuana farm.
“We believe the farm could produce 792kg of cannabis with an estimated street value of HK$140 million a year,” the inspector said.
He said the investigation was still under way and further arrests were possible.
In Hong Kong, trafficking in a dangerous drug is punishable by up to life in prison and a HK$5 million fine and cultivating cannabis plants carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and a HK$100,000 penalty.
Between January and October this year, local authorities confiscated 2,004kg of cannabis, up 18.7 per cent from 1,689kg of the drug in the same period last year.
In a separate case, customs officers at the airport’s cargo terminal seized 60kg of ketamine concealed in 60 video recorders in an air consignment from Spain on December 7.
The consignment carrying 119 video recorders was selected for inspection because the import of such a large quantity of the product from the country was unusual, according to the Customs and Excise Department. The drug was found hidden in 60 of the recorders.
Senior Inspector Yau Kin-wai of customs’ drug investigation bureau on Thursday said an initial investigation suggested the haul was to meet the festive season demand in the city. He said they were trying to track down the recipient of the goods. So far, no arrest was made.
Ketamine seizures dropped 74 per cent to 503kg in the first 10 months of this year from 1,940kg in the same period in 2021.