Customs officials find a record-breaking 2 tonnes of liquid meth hidden in cartons of coconut water en route for Australia, which they say likely involves a massive international drug trafficking ring.
Hong Kong has made its biggest ever seizure of methamphetamine after uncovering a shipment arriving from Mexico worth around $140 million.
The drugs, which were seized on October 23, had been concealed in bottles labeled as coconut water in a cargo shipment that arrived in Hong Kong by sea, according to a government statement on Saturday.
They found that 1,800 bottles out of the total 7,700 bottles contained liquid meth. The bust is the largest on record among meth cases in terms of the amount and market value.
"We believe the liquid meth, of high purity, came from South America. It was packaged there and shipped via a convoluted route to Hong Kong, to be sent to Australia," said senior superintendent Lee Ka-ming, head of the drug investigation bureau at Hong Kong customs.
Authorities were alerted via intelligence exchanges with overseas law enforcement to the possibility of large liquid meth shipments arriving in the city, another customs official, Fong Heung-wing, told reporters.
An online search for the shipment's alleged recipient, an Australian company, came up empty but officials are still investigating the case. No arrests have been made.
Hong Kong has so far this year uncovered more than double the meth seized in the whole of last year, with almost three tonnes confiscated by authorities.
The latest cargo had raised suspicion as it was unusually large for a coconut water shipment from Mexico.
"Coconut water (shipments) from Mexico are extremely rare... the last time was in 2016 and weighed just six kilograms," Fong said.
The haul is the second found in shipments from Mexico to Australia in less than two weeks. In Australia, the market value of this meth haul could reach about $1 billion.
Custom officials earlier this month seized about $5.9 million worth of crystal meth concealed in a shipment of electrical transformers that were also bound for Australia from Mexico.