To prevent and detect the smuggling of contraband, including narcotics, firearms, strategic goods, dutiable commodities, articles which infringe copyright or trade descriptions, and any other articles the importation or exportation of which is prohibited by law, through actions at control points and regular land and maritime patrols within the territory of Hong Kong; as well as to run a regulatory regime for the Money Service Operators (MSOs) under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance (Cap. 615)(AMLO).
The Department is the primary agency responsible for the suppression of smuggling activities and is an integral member of the Joint Police/Customs Anti-smuggling Task Force formed to combat smuggling activities at sea. The Department also acts as the front-line agency to prevent importation and exportation of any articles which are prohibited by law concerning security, public health and environmental protection or in fulfilling international obligations; as well as to perform the regulatory functions of MSOs under the AMLO. The enforcement work includes:
- monitoring both the import and export of goods and the licensing of the movement of prohibited and prescribed articles as stipulated in the Import and Export Ordinance (Cap. 60);
- conducting primary checks on passengers, crew, cargoes, postal parcels, aircraft, vessels and vehicles, and secondary examination of those considered high risk, in order to detect contraband (including those for terrorist activities), controlled items and other violations of the law;
- conducting regular maritime and land patrols within Hong Kong to detect and suppress violations of customs law and other illegal activities;
- providing sustained intelligence support to anti-smuggling enforcement actions through the work of the Intelligence Bureau;
- inspecting and verifying licences and manifests in order to control the import and export of prohibited articles and the carriage of prescribed articles;
- processing declarations on large quantities of physical currency and bearer negotiable instruments and detecting non-compliance with the relevant declaration and disclosure requirements, in accordance with the Cross-boundary Movement of Physical Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments Ordinance (Cap. 629); and
- licensing and supervising MSOs under the AMLO and taking enforcement action against unlicensed MSOs.