Customs smashes an unlicensed liquor manufacturing factory (with photos)

22 Jan 2008

Customs officers yesterday (January 21) smashed an unlicensed liquor manufacturing factory in Fo Tan.

They seized from the premises in an industrial building in Fo Tan a total of 5,500 litres of suspected duty-not-paid rice wine, worth $ 160,000 and with duty potential of HK$32,000. Unused labels, empty bottles, packing utensils and bottling machinery were also found.

In connection with the case, the officers also seized the rice wine in question from some 20 retail outlets.

Five persons, aged from 37 to 71, including a company director and four employees, were arrested. They are now under bail pending further investigations.

Acting on information received earlier, Customs officers carried out in-depth investigations. Suspecting that a company might have manufactured alcoholic liquor at its own premises without a licence, officers of the Office of Dutiable Commodities Administration and Revenue and General Investigation Bureau conducted a search on the premises in Fo Tan yesterday. The company was found not in possession of a liquor manufacturer's licence.

Preliminary testing by the Government Laboratory showed that the liquor did not contain any pyridine and methanol.

Hong Kong Customs has informed the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for follow-up actions as necessary.

The public is reminded to take note of the two types of the liquor manufactured by the unlicensed liquor manufacturing factory, namely “??憭芸???rdquo; in Chinese(150ml, 300ml and 600ml) and “???匧??rdquo;(300ml and 600ml). Since they are produced in an unlicensed control environment, the product quality is not guaranteed.

A Customs spokesman today (January 22) said that the Department is committed to deterring illegal activities of liquor manufacturing without a licence.

Offenders manufacturing liquor unlawfully will have a high price to pay, he warned.

Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, the maximum penalty for committing an offence of manufacturing alcoholic liquor without a licence or dealing with dutiable goods not in accordance with the provision of the said Ordinance is a fine of $1 million and an imprisonment for two years.

The last seizures of liquors produced by unlicensed manufacturers were made in three cases in 2004. They involved seized liquors of 168 litres, 1,300 litres and 6,200 litres, with value of $6,300, $14,000 and $205,000 respectively.

“There is no evidence that illegal activities of manufacturing liquor without a licence is rampant,” said the spokesman.

In case people come across illegal manufacture of alcoholic liquors, they should call the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 to report.

Ends/Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Previous Page