Three Hongkongers were arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport after 12.3kg of cocaine with an estimated value of HK$11 million (US$1.4 million) was found in their suitcases on Sunday afternoon.

Hong Kong authorities alerted their Thai counterparts, who intercepted the trio – Fong Yee-ting, 19, Tung Wing-yan, 22, and Yau Kit-long, 24 – who had arrived from Brazil, the Bangkok Post reported. The two men and a woman had HKSAR passports.

The trio told the Thai police and customs officers that they were scheduled to deliver the cocaine at a hotel in the Sukhumvit area to a Hong Kong woman nicknamed Ming, who promised to pay them HK$8,000 each as drug couriers, Hong Kong Commercial Daily reported.

But, when Thai police arrived at the hotel, Ming was believed to have been tipped off and fled back to Hong Kong.

Thai authorities said they would continue to work with Hong Kong authorities to find Ming and other people involved in the drug trafficking ring.

Under Thai law, the maximum penalty for carrying cocaine across borders is life imprisonment.