Thailand seizes $40m of crystal meth hidden in boxing punch bags

Officials show amphetamine that was hidden in punching bags bound for Australia, seized in a Thailand port, in Bangkok, Thailand on Dec 23, 2021.

BANGKOK - Thai authorities have seized crystal methamphetamine with a street value of almost US$30 million (S$40 million) stuffed inside boxing punch bags bound for Australia, officials said on Thursday (Dec 23).

Customs officers inspected the shipment after growing suspicious of the Thai-made training equipment which is not in high demand in Australia, Thai and Australian officials investigating the matter told a news conference in Bangkok.

More than 193kg of the drugs, also known as ice, were hidden among 15 different bags.

Surrounded by cameras, a Thai customs official sliced through a long cardboard box and then the red outer layer of the boxing punch bag, exposing the drugs hidden amongst the stuffing.

"Australia consumes around 11 tons of methamphetamine per year," Australian Border Force Acting Superintendent Joel Carruthers said. "So there's a market for it, and disrupting it offshore in countries such as Thailand is fantastic."

Methamphetamine production in Southeast Asia's Golden Triangle — a border region between Thailand, Laos and Myanmar — has been increasing sharply in recent years, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

READ MORE: Thailand seizes $120 million worth of crystal meth bound for Taiwan