Hong Kong man sentenced over $20 million meth import

He smuggled the drugs into NZ in a pallet of spatula sets.
He smuggled the drugs into NZ in a pallet of spatula sets. Photo credit: NZ Customs

A Hong Kong man who imported $20 million of meth into New Zealand has been sentenced in the Auckland High Court on Friday.

Ho Hin Gabriel Wan, 24, was sentenced to 16 years and six months imprisonment for importing a Class A controlled drug.

At the end of July 2016, Customs officers intercepted an air cargo shipment from Hong Kong.

Inside was a pallet of spatula sets that contained methamphetamine. The 24-piece spatula sets were contained in 80 boxes and each set had a 250 gram methamphetamine packet hidden underneath. The total came to approximately 20 kilograms.

Wan had been identified by Customs as a risk profile prior to his arrival in New Zealand on a visitor's visa in May 2016 and, while he was found to not have any drugs on him, his travel was identified as suspicious.

Customs' intelligence then linked the shipment to the Hong Kong national and investigators later arrested him at a residential address on the North Shore in August 2016.

Customs investigations manager, Bruce Berry, says the outcome of the investigation was a great result.

"The methods of drug concealment are constantly changing and evolving across all the importation streams which requires extreme vigilance and hard work by our Customs Officers," he says.

"The sole reason for his travel to New Zealand was to receive this consignment of drugs. This was a significant seizure and the result in court today is testament to our targeting systems and quick action by our people.

"Methamphetamine causes a great deal of harm to New Zealand families and our community, and Customs is committed to preventing it and any other drugs from getting past our borders and on to our streets."

He asks New Zealanders to play a role in protecting the border and communities from drugs smuggling. To report suspicions about packages or people - call 0800 4 CUSTOMS.