A 78-year-old Melbourne retiree has been arrested at Hong Kong International Airport after customs officers discovered more than 2.3 kilograms of methamphetamine in a suitcase.
Brighton resident Joerg Ulitzka has been charged with one count of trafficking and faces life imprisonment and fines of up to $5 million under Hong Kong's strict drug laws.
A spokeswoman for Hong Kong Customs said the seized methamphetamine had a market value of almost $1 million and was concealed in the false compartments of seven handbags inside check-in luggage.
Mr Ulitzka was about to board a flight to Melbourne when he was arrested on June 24 believed to be using a German passport. He told customs inspectors he was unemployed.
He appeared at the Tsuen Wan Magistrates Courton June 26 and was refused bail.
"Hong Kong Customs will continue to step up anti-narcotics enforcement against transnational drug trafficking activities through Hong Kong International Airport," a customs spokeswoman said.
A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman confirmed the Consulate-General in Hong Kong had been in contact with an Australian permanent resident, who was under detention.
Mr Ulitzka lists his occupation on social media as the owner of Bentleigh East-based filtered water company, The Freshly Squeezed Water Co.
However, corporate records reveal he ceased to be a director in 2011. He has also been listed as a former director of two de-registered companies: International Water Conservation Systems and Arcacia Pty Ltd.
While some company records show Mr Ulitzka as German born, in others his place of birth is listed as the United States. Social media also shows that Mr Ulitzka was a frequent visitor to the Thai resort town of Pattaya.