Hong Kong Customs yesterday (May 3) conducted an anti-illicit cigarette operation in Sham Shui Po and Tsing Yi. In the operation, Customs smashed a suspected illicit cigarette storehouse and detained a cross-boundary private car suspected to be used in smuggling illicit cigarettes. A total of about 270 000 sticks of suspected illicit cigarettes were seized.
Customs officers suspected a residential premises to be an illicit cigarette storehouse in Sham Shui Po and took enforcement action yesterday evening. About 130 000 sticks of suspected illicit cigarettes were seized and a 51-year-old man was arrested. Subsequently, Customs officers intercepted a cross-boundary private car suspected to be used in smuggling illicit cigarettes in Tsing Yi. About 140 000 sticks of suspected illicit cigarettes were found in the vehicle and a 31-year-old man was arrested. The private car used for conveying the suspected illicit cigarettes was also detained. The total market value of the suspected illicit cigarettes seized in the two cases was about $700,000 with a duty potential of about $500,000.
Customs will continue to undertake stringent enforcement actions against illicit cigarette activities to protect government revenue.
Under the Import and Export Ordinance, smuggling is a serious offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.
Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, anyone involved in dealing with, possession of, selling or buying illicit cigarettes commits an offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $1 million and imprisonment for two years.
Members of the public are urged to report any suspected illicit cigarette activities by calling the Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.
Ends/Wednesday, May 4, 2016