Customs officers of Marine Enforcement Division yesterday (February 17) seized from an incoming local fishing vessel about 200,000 cigarettes, worth about $230,000 and with a duty potential of $160,000.
About 6pm yesterday, Customs officers intercepted an incoming local fishing vessel in West Lamma Channel. They found about 200,000 cigarettes inside a concealed compartment on board the vessel.
Since the goods were not covered in the import manifest and not with valid import permit, both the shipmaster and the crew were arrested.
The arrested persons, three male Mainlanders aged 23 to 42, will be charged with offences under the Import and Export Ordinance and the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance.
A spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department reiterated that the Department would continue to take vigorous enforcement actions against cross-boundary cigarettes smuggling activities.
Under the Import and Export Ordinance, smuggling is a serious crime. The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of $2 million and an imprisonment for seven years.
Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, any person who is convicted of dealing with goods to which Dutiable Commodities Ordinance applies is liable to a maximum fine of $1 million and an imprisonment for two years.
Ends/Monday, February 18, 2008