Customs seizes $60 million worth of smuggled goods on river trade vessel (with photos)

18 May 2013

Hong Kong Customs foiled a smuggling attempt by a river trade vessel destined for the Mainland on May 16, seizing $60 million worth of unmanifested goods including high valued electronic products and endangered species specimens.

Acting on intelligence, Customs officers of the Syndicate Crimes Investigation Bureau conducted an anti-smuggling operation in the west waters of Hong Kong. Officers of the Marine Enforcement Group used a sector patrol launch to intercept a mainland river trade vessel leaving for Humen, Guangdong off Black Point, Tuen Mun and escort it to the Custom Cargo Examination Complex at the River Trade Terminal in Tuen Mun for cargo examination.

Upon searching three 45-foot containers declared to contain "polyethylene balls", Customs officers found a large batch of unmanifested cargoes including 4 200 cameras and lens, 6 200 tablet computers, 42 000 computer hard disks, 165 000 liquid crystal display panels, 7 800 computer mother boards, 900 000 integrated circuits and 200 kilogrammes of endangered species like ivory, pangolin scale and dried sea horse. The total value of the seizure was worth over $60 million.

Customs discovered that these consignments were camouflaged with about 180 bags of polyethylene balls in each container and the unmanifested cargoes were found occupying 90 per cent of the container.

A Customs spokesman said today (May 18) that smugglers would make use of the frequent and voluminous river trade cargo flow to smuggle high valued and controlled items into the Mainland. Investigation is continuing and no arrests have been made so far.

The spokesman added, "Smuggling is a serious offence and Customs would continue to crack down on any smuggling activities." Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of exporting unmanifested cargoes is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Ends/Saturday, May 18 2013

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