Officials suspect the drug seized at Hong Kong International Airport was ketamine. Photo: HK Government/Wikimedia CommonsPhoto: HK Government, Wikimedia Commons

A 27-year-old man of Filipino origin appeared in the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Courts on Saturday to face a charge of one count of trafficking a dangerous drug.

Benoza Richard Marc Altares, a Hong Kong Identity Card holder, arrived at Hong Kong International Airport from Bangkok, Thailand, on Thursday afternoon where customs officers found 17 packets of what they suspect to be ketamine wrapped as snacks in his luggage, according to a government release.

The ketamine weighted 4.2 kilograms and had an estimated market value of HK$2 million (US$254,915). The man, who police said was a bartender, was arrested on the spot and was later charged with one count of drug trafficking.

His defense lawyer applied for cash bail of HK$2,000, but the magistrate rejected the application. No plea was taken during the court hearing.

The defendant was remanded in custody until the second mention at the West Kowloon’s Magistrates’ Court on March 27.

Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, trafficking in a dangerous drug is a serious offense. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of HK$5 million and life imprisonment.

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