Skip to main content

At Customs Officers' passing-out parade

26 October 2007


Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen, took the salute given by 148 Customs officers at a passing-out parade at the Customs and Excise Training School today (October 26). His speech is as follows:

Honoured guests, graduates,

I am very pleased today to be the Inspection Officer for the Passing-out Parade. This is the first time I do so as the Commissioner of Customs and Excise.

The Hong Kong Customs is on the frontline of law enforcement and our main responsibilities include revenue protection, anti-smuggling, prevention of drug trafficking, protection of intellectual property rights, and safeguarding consumer interests. Over the years, the Hong Kong Customs has achieved remarkable results and earned the praise of the public. I was appointed the Commissioner of Customs and Excise in July this year and am honoured to be able to work with such a distinguished disciplined service.

Since joining the Department, I have deeply appreciated that the Hong Kong Customs' responsibilities cover a wide spectrum. Its work is closely related to the daily lives of our citizens and the Department plays a very important role in maintaining the stability and prosperity of our community. Hong Kong takes pride in having a clean, dedicated and efficient Customs Service which works diligently in guarding our control points to prevent the entry of contraband or prohibited articles that threaten the safety and well being of our society.

In July this year, Customs officers at the Kwai Chung Container Terminals seized a record amount of 160 kg high-grade cocaine worth $110 million. In September, based on intelligence and risk management, we detained two inbound containers with 13 million sticks of illicit cigarettes with an estimated value of $19 million. In the same month we foiled an attempt to smuggle 40,000 pirated optical discs, worth $6 million, into Hong Kong aboard an incoming truck, and over 20,000 suspected counterfeit goods.

These examples show that if such illicit articles were not successfully intercepted at the entry points and were allowed to find their way into the local retail market, the damage to society would be hard to estimate and it would also add tremendous pressure on our law enforcement agencies. These examples also demonstrate the importance of the work of the Customs on maintaining the security of the community.

In response to the rapid development of society, the work of the Customs has to constantly evolve and it has also become increasingly demanding. To strike a balance between rigorous law enforcement and trade facilitation, we have followed the international customs trend of going hi-tech by deploying new equipment and modern intelligence analysis techniques to help us target increasingly sophisticated and globalised professional crime syndicates, while minimizing inconvenience to bona fide business activities, passengers and the public. We will also actively co-operate with other customs authorities and participate in international anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering initiatives to fight against cross-border crimes and promote safe and secure trade.

In addition to performing the traditional customs duties, we have to respond to the rapid changes of society and work closely with other government departments to meet the demand of our citizens. In light of increased public concern about food safety, we have proactively co-operated with other departments to step up surveillance and inspection at the control points to prevent food smuggling. We are also aware of the concern of the community about consumer goods safety and improper sales practices and have in the last couple of months intensified our patrol and enforcement activities in these areas. All these demonstrate that the work of the Customs has become not only more wide ranging but also much more complex than before.

Facing with these challenges, as a new member of a modern Customs Service, you must not only continuously improve yourself and learn new technologies and new enforcement concepts; but equally important is you must also develop a broad perspective and a willingness to accept new ideas and new skills. Only so would you be able to adapt to the constant changing nature of your work and move with the times.

Graduates, your smart appearance and your enthusiasm reflect the high spirits of the Customs Service. Beginning next week you will formally join the Hong Kong Customs. You are our successors: you are our future. I hope you will take pride in becoming a member of the Hong Kong Customs and dedicate yourselves to serving the people of Hong Kong.

Thank you.

Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen, inspecting a contingent of 148 Customs officers at a passing-out parade at the Customs and Excise Training School today (October 26). (Opens a new window)
Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen, inspecting a contingent of 148 Customs officers at a passing-out parade at the Customs and Excise Training School today (October 26).

Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen, delivering a speech at the Customs passing-out parade today (October 26). (Opens a new window)
Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen, delivering a speech at the Customs passing-out parade today (October 26).

Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen, presenting a "Whistle of Honour" to one of the best recruits, Customs officer Law Lai-ling at the Customs passing-out parade today (October 26). (Opens a new window)
Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen, presenting a "Whistle of Honour" to one of the best recruits, Customs officer Law Lai-ling at the Customs passing-out parade today (October 26).

Ends/Friday, October 26, 2007

Back to Significant Speeches Index Page

Significant Speeches by the Commissioner