Customs seizes largest haul of smuggled cigarettes

23 Nov 2007

Hong Kong Customs yesterday (November 22) seized the largest haul of cross-boundary smuggled cigarettes this year.

The officers seized from a Mainland river trade vessel 21.5 million sticks of illicit cigarettes, worth $32 million and with duty potential of $17 million.

Customs officers from Anti-Illicit-Cigarette Investigation Division and Container Terminals Division found the cigarettes from two containers bound for Malaysia, declared to be carrying asbestos sheets.

The vessel arrived from Huangpu Port, Guangzhou on the Mainland.

Initial investigation showed that a syndicate had attempted to smuggle illicit cigarettes to Malaysia via Hong Kong and profit from selling the haul in Southeast Asia.

A spokesman for Customs and Excise Department today (November 23) stressed that the department would continue its stringent enforcement against smuggling activities.

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.

Ends/Friday, November 23, 2007

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