Customs seizes unmanifested freshwater fish and turtles

27 Feb 2007

Hong Kong Customs officers last evening (February 26) seized 4,630 kilograms of unmanifested freshwater fish and turtles from a local fishing vessel from Guishan, Guangdong at the waterfront south of Marine Cargo Terminal, Hong Kong International Airport.

While conducting an anti-smuggling operation, Customs officers intercepted a local fishing vessel sailing towards the waterfront south of Marine Cargo Terminal at 9.45pm.

They seized 4,250 kilograms of freshwater fish, 173 kilograms of Red-eared turtle and 207 kilograms of Chinese softshell turtle with an estimated value of $210,300.

The master of the fishing vessel failed to produce any manifest, and the consignment did not bear valid health certificate from the Mainland authority.

Four male Mainlanders, including a 38-year-old vessel master, aged between 23 and 49, were arrested. They will later be charged under the Import and Export Ordinance.

Initial Customs investigations showed that the consignment was intended for local consumption.

Hong Kong Customs has notified Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), and Agriculture, Fisheries and

Conservation Department about this case.

Divisional Commander (Marine Enforcement Division), Mr Lam Chi-keung today (February 27) said, "Hong Kong Customs have maintained vigorous inspection of vessels coming in and leaving Hong Kong waters to guard against unmanifested fish."

He reiterated that Hong Kong Customs would continue to work closely with FEHD in cracking down on such illicit activities.

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of "attempting to import/export unmanifested cargo" or "making use of an altered structure of any vessel for the purpose of smuggling" is liable on conviction to a fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Ends/Tuesday, February 27, 2007

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