Rita Li Yim-ping (center), head of Syndicate Crimes Investigation Bureau of Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department, and two other customs officers present to the media the crates that contained various goods worth HK$300 million in a suspected smuggling case on Nov 7, 2022. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong Customs foiled an attempt to smuggle to the Chinese mainland various goods worth HK$300 million ($38.22 million), the city’s largest sea smuggling case this year.
Customs said in a statement that it arrested a 48-year-old man and 53 year-old woman suspected of being involved in the smuggling attempt using an ocean-going ship at the Kwai Chung Container Terminals.
The confiscated goods included ginseng and dried seafood such as fish maws, sea cucumbers, shark fins, scallops and suspected geckos, totaling about 50 tons
The confiscated goods included ginseng and dried seafood such as fish maws, sea cucumbers, shark fins, scallops and suspected geckos, totaling about 50 tons. The other goods comprised about 30,000 bottles of table wines, about 30 tons of solid waste, electronic goods, cosmetics, beauty needles and endangered species.
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Customs said it learned about the smuggling try after conducting a risk assessment and determined that that criminals may use ocean-going vessels to smuggle goods to the mainland. They identified on Oct 26 ten containers in Kwai Chung that were declared to have acrylic boards ready to be shipped to Tianjin.
“Upon inspection, Customs officers found inside the 10 containers a lot of wooden boxes, which were used to conceal a large batch of suspected smuggled goods,” Customs said.
After a follow-up investigation, Customs officers raided a warehouse in Yuen Long on Oct 28 and arrested the two persons suspected to be connected with the case. The suspects have been released on bail pending further investigation and the likelihood of further arrests is not ruled out.
Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting unmanifested cargo is liable to a maximum fine of HK$2 million and imprisonment for seven years. Moreover, any person who imports or exports pharmaceutical products and medicines without a valid license commits an offence could be fined HK$500,000 and imprisoned for two years.
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Also, any person found guilty of importing or exporting an endangered species without a license face a fine of HK$10 million and imprisonment for 10 years, Customs added.
Rita Li Yim-ping (center), head of Syndicate Crimes Investigation Bureau of Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department, and two other customs officers attend a press conference and present to the media the details of a suspected smuggling case involving various goods worth HK$300 million on Nov 7, 2022. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)