HK police smash South American cocaine syndicate – police

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong authorities seized cocaine worth HK$600 million ($77 million), the city’s largest ever cocaine haul, and claimed to have smashed a multinational drug syndicate with the arrest of eight people, the police said.

The Hong Kong police said in a statement on Sunday that 567 kg (1,250 lbs) of cocaine was seized.

“We believe we have successfully neutralised the mul-tinational syndicate,” John Paul Ribeiro, chief superintendent of Hong Kong’s narcotics bureau, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.

Five Mexicans, a Colom-bian and an American were among those arrested, the Post reported. Under Hong Kong law, if convicted, they could face life imprisonment and a fine of HK$5 million for trafficking in a dangerous drug.

The drugs are believed to have been delivered by sea from South American countries including Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, and may have been bound for larger markets such as mainland China.

“We can’t rule out the drug would be sold to the mainland and other countries,” Ribeiro was quoted as saying.

Local media said the drugs had been concealed in heaps of compressed plastics in a recycling warehouse rented by a South American-based drug syndicate.

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