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Customs methamphetamine seizures land a man more than 10 years in jail

10.26am 04 August 2023 | Social Media

Hong Kong national, Chi Pang Li, was sentenced to 10-years-and-four-months’ jail after a Customs investigation into a methamphetamine smuggling operation.

Customs began its investigations in 2020 after multiple packages sent from Canada through the mail system were found to contain methamphetamine.

The methamphetamine was predominantly hidden in tubs of protein powder, nine packages in total, with each consignment of methamphetamine weighing upwards of two kilograms.

In September 2020, Customs arrested Li for his involvement and charged him with multiple counts of importing methamphetamine totalling 20.9 kilograms. It is estimated this quantity could produce just over one million individual doses, with a street value in 2020 of nearly NZD$4.2 million.

Customs Manager Investigations, Cam Moore, praised the investigative work carried out by officers to stop this drug smuggling operation by Li who used fictitious names and had the drugs delivered to a variety of Auckland inner-city apartments and other residential rental addresses.

Cam Moore says that Li initially came into New Zealand from Hong Kong on a visitor’s visa in 2018 as part of a tour group, however, he left the tour group the day before it left New Zealand.

“Li remained in New Zealand unlawfully and, as Customs’ investigations uncovered, he embarked on a smuggling enterprise that involved bringing significant quantities of drugs into New Zealand, which imposed both social and economic harm on our country,” Cam Moore said.

Li has been ordered to serve at least 40 percent of his 10-years-and-four-months jail sentence. Once he has served his sentence, Li will be deported back to Hong Kong.

Cam Moore says the public can play an active role in disrupting drug smuggling by reporting suspicious behaviour to Customs confidentially or anonymously to Crimestoppers.

Some of the things to look out for are:

  • Unknown vehicles that appear to be waiting in the street and approaching courier vans
  • Unusual activity at vacant houses or houses for sale. People accessing the property not during an open home, or collecting packages or items from the property
  • Packages addressed to your address but with unknown recipient names
  • Anyone known or unknown to you who may approach you to use your address for the delivery of a package
  • Circumstances where a renter looks to be receiving frequent international mail packages
  • Car buyers/sellers who want to take a photo of your driver’s licence whilst conducting a test drive of the vehicle. ID can be used for illegal activity such as importing drug packages

If you know of someone or suspect someone who is dealing in illicit drugs, you can notify Customs anonymously through the Border Protect report form online, or call Customs on 0800 WE PROTECT (0800 937 768) a 24-hour confidential hotline, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.