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Hong Kong bust shows China cocaine boom

As mainland Chinese discover expensive wines and luxury cars from the west, so too grows the demand for illegal drugs such as cocaine.

And this booming trade uses Hong Kong as a conduit between Latin American producers and the burgeoning mainland China market. On September 18, local police arrested eight individuals, one of them a U.S. citizen, in connection with a 567-kilogram seizure worth around US$77 million in the local market.

“Historically, Hong Kong has been the center of drug trafficking in this region,” said Simon Young, Director of the Center for Comparative Law at the University of Hong Kong.

Amounts found by authorities have been increasingly large in the territory over the last years. A recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes said they expect consumption in Mainland China to continue its rise.

Hong Kong’s relatively lenient laws for trafficking – with no capital punishment for offenders –is one of its comparative advantages for serving the China market, according to Young. The city’s status as a financial hub also makes it a convenient center for money laundering.

“There’s enormous amounts of drug proceeds that go through this jurisdiction,” Young told CNN.

And Hong Kong’s streets illustrate its increasing status as a Latin American cocaine entrepôt. more

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