Press Release



Government to tighten control on potassium permanganate


The Government proposes to tighten the control on potassium permanganate, an essential chemical for the illicit manufacture of cocaine, by upgrading it from Schedule 3 to Schedule 2 to the Control of Chemicals Ordinance (Cap 145).

The Control of Chemicals Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 3) Order made by the Chief Executive in Council to enforce the tightened control will be gazetted on Friday, 4 June 1999, and tabled at the Legislative Council for negative vetting on 9 June.

At present, the control in respect of potassium permanganate under Cap 145 is the requirement of an export licence and an individual export authorization for every shipment when the chemical is transported from Hong Kong to 11 Central and South American countries.

After the upgrading of potassium permanganate to Schedule 2, a licence will be required for the manufacture, import and export of the chemical. In addition, for each and every shipment of the chemical to be imported or exported, a licensee has to further obtain an individual import or export authorization. Transshipment, removal and storage of potassium permanganate will also be subject to more stringent control.

"The tightening of control on potassium permanganate will align Hong Kong's precursor control regime with an United Nations resolution passed in June 1998, which called for action by member countries to improve their mechanism and procedures for monitoring trade in precursor chemicals," said a spokesman of the Narcotics Division, Security Bureau.

"It will also signify Hong Kong's contribution to international efforts in preventing the diversion of precursor chemicals for manufacture of illicit drugs", he added.

Industrially, potassium permanganate is a chemical used as a general oxidizing and bleaching agent, and in the manufacture of disinfectants, dyes and chemical reagents.

Hong Kong is not a producing territory of potassium permanganate. At present, potassium permanganate is imported to Hong Kong from other places, including the Mainland for re-export.

End/Wednesday, June 2, 1999