Scooby Doo’s dream van has become one Hong Kong man’s legal nightmare.

The unnamed man, 49, has been arrested and could be facing life in prison after authorities discovered HK$26.7 million (approx. CAD$4.16 million) worth of cannabis flower hidden inside bags of dog food in his van, South China

Acting on a tip, narcotics officers in Yuen Long stopped a van on Monday carrying 63 bags of dog food. When opened, the cargo revealed 250 bags of cannabis, totalling 126kg of the drug. Police did not reveal whether any K-9 officers assisted with the search.

Compared to other Asian countries, Hong Kong has more relaxed cannabis laws — the sale of various products containing CBD and other cannabinoids is legal.

However, import, possession, sale, transportation, and cultivation of THC-containing cannabis and/or cannabis products constitute a serious criminal offence under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. Penalties can range from three years (for possession of paraphernalia) to life in prison (for trafficking).

The driver of the van has been charged with drug trafficking and is scheduled to make a court appearance this week.

Despite the risk of harsh penalties, cannabis trafficking in Hong Kong is on a massive upswing. Between January and April, the number of cases increased from 153 in 2020 to 324 in 2021 — an increase of more than 100 per cent. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of cannabis-related charged jumped approximately 80 per cent.