Customs seizes 870 kilograms of illicit tobacco (with photo)

15 Mar 2013

Hong Kong Customs mounted a two-week operation codenamed "Sky-net" in early March to combat the smuggling of tobacco through a transnational logistics network. A total of about 870 kilograms of illicit tobacco valued at about $3.3 million with duty potential of around $1.8 million was seized.

Acting on intelligence, Customs revealed that some smuggling syndicates made use of the logistics network to export pre-packed illicit tobacco from the Mainland by land via Hong Kong to overseas places by means of air consignments and parcels in order to evade Customs detection. After exchange of intelligence with the Mainland and related overseas law enforcement agencies, Customs conducted in-depth investigation and thus carried out enforcement actions.

During the two-week operation, Customs intercepted 33 packages of air consignments and parcels to be exported to Europe and America in the air cargo terminal and various logistics companies and seized the illicit tobacco. Customs will continue to follow up on the cases to locate the culprits.

The Divisional Commander (Anti-Illicit-Cigarette Investigation) of the Revenue and General Investigation Bureau, Mr Wan Hing-chuen, said today (March 15) at a press briefing, "Hong Kong Customs will spare no effort in closely monitoring the illicit tobacco and cigarette smuggling activities using the logistics network. Intelligence will be exchanged with the Mainland and related overseas law enforcement agencies to trace and track cross-boundary smuggling activities."

Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, anyone involved in or dealing with possession, selling and buying illicit cigarettes or tobacco commits an offence. The maximum penalty on conviction is imprisonment for two years and a fine of $1 million."

Ends/Friday, March 15 2013

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