A customs officer displays Captagon pills, part of the 789 kilogrammes (1739 pounds) of confiscated drugs, before its incineration in Sofia, 12, 2007. Reuters/Nikolay Doychinov

The Australian Border Force (ABF) has teamed up with the Hong Kong Customs and Excise (HKCE) in an operation that resulted in multiple detections of the drug GBL over the past two weeks. The two agencies saw 10 detections with a total weight of 26.26kg of the party drug gamma-Butyrolactone from Oct. 15 to 28.

The joint operation — part of long-term and ongoing partnership between the ABF and the HKCE — also detected a further 3.795kg of illicit substances, as well as 180 vials of other illicit substances.

“The results of this operation speak for themselves, working in partnership with Hong Kong Customs and Excise, we have stopped a significant amount of the harmful drug GBL from reaching the Australian community,” Acting ABF Assistant Commissioner Port Operations Command, Claire Rees, said. “Hong Kong Customs and Excise is a key strategic partner in the regional battle against the illicit drugs trade and we look forward to working closely with them for years to come.”

The GBL drug is harmless if it’s used as it is originally used for: a paint stripper and rust remover. However, it is often abused as a drug, which some people call “a coma in a bottle.” It is a prodrug for the illegal substance GHB, which means the human body could convert GBL to GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyrate. It is taken as a recreational drug as it apparently improves physical performance and sexual performance. GBL can allegedly trim fat and be used as a muscle-builder.

In Australia, GBL is a border-controlled substance and is illegal to import into the country without a permit. According to the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the importation of a commercial quantity of a border-controlled drug like GBL is punishable by up to life imprisonment and/or an $825,000 fine.