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A 51-year-old man was arrested at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) after customs officials discovered that he was smuggling 11 kilograms of cocaine, valued at more than $1.5 million, into the country. The man now faces life in prison if found guilty of the drug trafficking charges he’s being held on.
Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department announced the details around this discovery that occurred yesterday. The man traveled from Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten (SXM) to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) and onto Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). The passenger had two checked bags including the wheelchair. Officials became suspicious when they noticed that parts of the seat had been restitched. They examined the wheelchair further and found the cocaine tucked inside.
The passenger has mobility issues but claims that the wheelchair was borrowed from a friend. As a result, airport officials have announced increased scrutiny for flights arriving from areas designated as high risk.
According to the BBC, customs officials found dangerous drugs 931 times in 2022 (a slight increase from the 906 incidents in 2021). This is not the first time that drugs have been found inside a wheelchair at an airport. In November, New York officials seized $450,000 of cocaine tucked into the wheels of a woman’s wheelchair. In September 2022, CBS reported that nearly $1.6 million of cocaine (almost 30 pounds) was found in the upholstery of a motorized wheelchair in Milan (pictured above).
Anthony’s Take: This is not a good idea. The penalties are not worth the potential monetary gain from drug trafficking. I’d be especially concerned in some Asian countries where penalties can be as severe as death.
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