A shipment of frozen chicken feet that left Brazil for Hong Kong was hiding about 300 kg of cocaine, officials in the semi-autonomous Chinese city said on Thursday (19).
According to the South China Morning Post, this is the biggest maritime cocaine traffic in a decade. The drug charge, valued at more than 260 million Hong Kong dollars (R$ 172.7 million), was hidden in 30 of the 1,800 boxes of chicken feet imported from Brazil.
Customs officials in Hong Kong told the SCMP that at least three people were arrested for the crime, which was discovered on December 22 and only made public on Thursday by authorities.
A 67-year-old truck driver who showed up to pick up the load was arrested on the same day, and two other men, aged 38 and 72, were arrested on Wednesday (18). The three were later released, but the last two are still awaiting trial.
Now authorities are trying to identify and track other members of what would be a specialized drug trafficking gang. The group used a fake document simulating a business registration of a real Hong Kong company to obtain the license to import the cargo of chicken — and drugs.
The document, however, raised suspicions at customs because the chosen front company was not registered as a food importer. So I couldn’t have ordered the tons of chicken feet.
The load was then inspected, and the drug was found divided into 300 plates, each weighing 1 kg. The substance was packaged in a kind of balloon, so that it would not come into contact with the moisture from the frozen chicken feet. In addition, according to customs officials, the type of packaging would serve to contain the smell of cocaine and lose sniffer dogs.
Philip Chan Siu-kau of the Customs Drug Investigation Department told the SCMP that this was the biggest cocaine seizure of 2022, equivalent to nearly a third of the total seized last year. The suspicion is that part of the cocaine would be used in drug trafficking in Hong Kong, and the rest would be sent to Australia, where the drug is worth five times more.
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