Customs smashes illicit cigarette smuggling case in Lok Ma Chau (with photo)

11 Jan 2013

Hong Kong Customs today (January 11) seized about 1.1 million sticks of duty-not-paid cigarettes on board a cross-boundary lorry arriving in Hong Kong via Lok Ma Chau Control Point.

The total value of the illicit cigarettes was about $2.8 million with a duty potential of about $1.9 million. The male driver of the lorry, aged 35, and the 41-year-old male driver of another lorry who was waiting to collect the cigarettes, were arrested. The two lorries were also seized for investigation.

At about 6am today, Customs officers at Lok Ma Chau Control Point intercepted an incoming cross-boundary lorry declared to have 386 boxes of ironware and plastic products on board. After X-ray examination and thorough inspection by Customs officers, about 1.1 million sticks of illicit cigarettes were found in 112 carton boxes, mix-loaded with other goods and concealed in the rear of the lorry.

In the follow-up investigation, Customs arrested a male driver in San Po Kong who was going to collect the cigarettes.

With the approach of the Lunar New Year, Hong Kong Customs will continue to carry out stringent enforcement action against the smuggling of illicit cigarettes at boundary control points 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.

Members of the public are urged to report any suspected illicit cigarette activities using the Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Friday, January 11 2013
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