Hong Kong Customs for the first time smashes a suspected carousel-smuggling syndicate (with photos)

22 Jun 2016

Hong Kong Customs on June 17 for the first time smashed a suspected carousel-smuggling syndicate that made use of false compartments in trailers of cross-boundary container trucks for two-way smuggling of precious metal and electronics products. During the operation, about 700 kilograms (kg) of silver and a large haul of electronic products, including computer central processing units (CPUs), mobile phones and computer tablets with a total value of about $7.3 million, were seized.

On the morning of June 17, Customs officers monitored an inbound container truck from Lok Ma Chau Control Point. After the container truck entered a cargo yard in Yuen Long, the original trailer was unloaded while another trailer was towed away from the yard. Customs officers suspected that the unloaded trailer's axles had false compartments for smuggling goods. Customs officers then took action and found on the spot about 700 kg of silver suspected to have been unloaded from the false compartments moments earlier. A total of 2 640 CPUs were also found inside the false compartments of the trailer's axles.

Meanwhile, the container truck that had left the cargo yard was intercepted when it arrived at Man Kam To Control Point. A total of 244 mobile phones and 2 070 CPUs were found in the false compartments of the trailer's axles. Customs officers subsequently searched a flat in an industrial building in Kwun Tong. A small quantity of electronic products and packaging materials were found in the flat, which was suspected to be the electronic goods storage space of the smuggling syndicate.

A total of five men, aged between 35 and 71, were arrested during the operation. They were released on bail pending further investigation.

A Customs spokesman said today (June 22) that smuggling is a serious offence. Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting unmanifested cargo is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Ends/Wednesday, June 22, 2016

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