Date
26 September 2017
More than 40 percent of smuggling attempts were busted during the summer school holiday last year. Photo: HKEJ
More than 40 percent of smuggling attempts were busted during the summer school holiday last year. Photo: HKEJ

Rise in teen drug smuggling draws warning as summer break looms

Drug traffickers are increasingly using teenagers to smuggle narcotics into the mainland, prompting a warning from Hong Kong customs authorities.

Fifteen young people have been arrested for drug smuggling in the past five months alone, according to SkyPost.

And with the summer school break in July, customs authorities are warning about drug smugglers using students as couriers. 

More than 40 percent of smuggling attempts were busted during the summer school holiday last year.

Drug dealers pay several thousand dollars for each drug crossing.

Last year, a secondary four student, who was paid HK$3,000 (US$387) to sneak drugs across the border, was jailed 11 years.

In the five months to May, 18 people aged 21 and under were held for possession of drugs or dealing in narcotics, double the number for the same period last year.

Albert Ho Shi-king, an assistant commissioner in the Customs and Excise Department, said the youngest person to be arrested is only 14.

Ho said teenagers are often made to believe they will receive a lenient punishment if they get convicted because of their age.

That is how drug smugglers get away with small payment to these young people for doing the job, he said.

Most get no more than HK$5,000 for transporting illegal substances including the hallucinogenic drug ketamine. 

Ko Po-lun, a YWCA outreach officer, said these teenagers are not in desperate need of money but are driven by their taste for luxury such as smartphones, expensive dinners and top-end entertainment.

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