The Narcotics Bureau of the Police held a press conference to explain the overall drug situation in the first eight months of this year, pointing out that the number of drug crimes and the number of arrested juveniles had both shown a downward trend, while the Police had cracked a number of large-scale drug cases, resulting in an increase in drug seizures. Noting that some young people were lured by money to commit drug crimes, and mistakenly believed that hiding in the online world could get away with it, the Police stressed that drug trafficking is not a "bamboo shoot" and that the online world is not unreliable, and called on young people to "control drugs". The Police will also introduce a series of large-scale publicity and education activities during the Anti-Drug Season at a press conference with a view to disseminating anti-drug messages.
Chief Superintendent of the Narcotics Bureau (centre), Superintendent Lee Wai-sze (left) and Dr Hui Fung-wan, Research Assistant Professor of the Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong Baptist University (right) hold a press conference. (Photo by Weng Yuhui)
Chief Superintendent of the Narcotics Bureau of the Police Ng Nga said that a total of 8,1 drug crimes were recorded in the first eight months of this year, a decrease of 730.16% compared with the same period last year. The number of juvenile arrests showed a downward trend, with 3 young people aged 8 to 10 arrested in the first eight months, down more than 20% from the same period last year, with 206 reporting as students and the youngest arrested being 44 years old. Seizures of various drugs increased, with the largest increase being a six-fold increase in cannabis plants, followed by a nearly three-fold increase in cocaine, mainly due to the cracking of a number of large-scale drug cases in the past five months.
Police returned to drug-related cases this year. In June this year, a 6-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking after receiving a package containing about 13kg of marijuana at his address. After further investigation, it was revealed that he assisted another 1-year-old boy in collecting a parcel and received HK$15,2 as a remuneration. The 500-year-old boy was instructed by a 15-year-old man to arrange to receive the package. In the same month, the Police also arrested a 31-year-old boy in Yau Ma Tei on suspicion of drug trafficking and found 14.53 grams of methamphetamine in his trouser pocket, claiming that he was trafficking drugs at the direction of a 3-year-old boy and receiving HK$17,8 per day as a reward.
There were 15- and 17-year-olds who committed crimes for tens of dollars
During the summer vacation, the Police detected 99 drug cases in various districts of Hong Kong and arrested 129 persons aged between 15 and 70 on suspicion of "manufacturing dangerous drugs", "conspiracy to traffic drugs" and "possession of dangerous drugs". Among them, 12 arrested persons were under the age of 20, 4 were students, and the youngest young people aged 15 and 17 involved were lured to commit the crime with only a meager reward of tens of yuan. Police seized a total of 204 kilograms of drugs with a market value of over $8 million.
In addition, the Narcotics Bureau conducted an operation lasting about one month during the summer vacation, detecting 34 drug cases and arresting 55 persons aged between 14 and 68, 5 minors, including 4 students. During the operation, the Police seized a total of about 161 kilograms of different types of drugs, with a total value of about $2800 million, with cannabis being the largest. About 14 grams of cannabis herb and THC liquid were seized from the arrested 32-year-old boy and his residence, claiming that he was led by another 14-year-old boy and instructed by a 17-year-old boy to sell drugs and receive HK$500 as a reward.
Drug dealers sell drugs online at a clear price and provide delivery services
The Police have noticed that some drug cartels have set up different online platforms such as Telegram to specialize in the sale of cannabis, CBD and THC products, and have placed advertisements through groups to sell drugs, greatly expanding the contact of drug traffickers, making it very easy for young people to contact drug dealers and obtain drugs. Criminals will also add drug prices to the image, thus avoiding law enforcement officers to search for drug-related words to track posts. Drug dealers will sell drugs at real prices on online platforms, and even provide drug delivery services, and their behavior is rampant.
In view of this, the Narcotics Bureau launched an in-depth investigation into the manipulators behind such online drug trafficking operations, and on 9-17 September, it conducted a network closure operation, arresting 18 local men and women, including two masterminds, on suspicion of operating a Telegram channel to sell cannabis-based products. The police successfully took over the channel, uprooting the entire drug cartel from top to bottom, including the mastermind, warehouse manager, packer, delivery man, taxi driver and buyer.
In addition, the Police believe that in addition to financial incentives, many young people may still believe that the online world can hide their identities and go unpunished. The police stressed that the online world is not impossible. Young people should not mistakenly believe drug cartels and think that drug trafficking is a low-risk, high-reward "bamboo shooter".
The Anti-Narcotics Campaign will be launched by the Anti-Narcotics Publicity Vehicle of the Narcotics Bureau, which will last for 9 days from 24 September, and the Anti-Narcotics Publicity Vehicle will visit hot spots in Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories to promote anti-drug messages. (Photo by Weng Yuhui)
In the face of the popularization of online drug trafficking, it is necessary to involve the public in various aspects, so that the police and all sectors of society can work together to enhance the anti-drug awareness of young people, so as to achieve the control of drugs. Superintendent Lee Wai-sze pointed out that the Police had launched a series of anti-drug publicity and education activities during the anti-drug season from September to November, and the first shot would be carried out by the Anti-Drug Publicity Vehicle of the Narcotics Bureau to visit hot spots in Hong Kong, Kowloon and the New Territories to promote anti-drug messages. The Police will also collaborate with the Education Bureau to launch anti-drug teaching materials for primary and secondary schools, and launch a new cartoon "Mi Tsai Diary". Police will also hold a large-scale anti-drug exhibition in the West Kowloon Cultural District.
The Narcotics Bureau and Hong Kong Baptist University have successfully made four of the most commonly abused drugs in Hong Kong into scent imitations, and this year there will be a new drug smell – cannabis – in the car. The odour was confirmed by the Government Laboratory to be free of addictive controlled ingredients, enabling the public to have a more comprehensive understanding of the forms of different drugs.