Hong Kong Customs mounted a territory-wide operation yesterday and today (August 2 and 3) to combat illicit cigarettes on all fronts, including cross-boundary smuggling, storage and distribution as well as peddling. During the operation, more than 1.23 million suspected illicit cigarettes with an estimated market value of about $3.3 million and a duty potential of about $2.4 million were seized.
Customs officers intercepted an incoming truck declared as carrying vegetables at Man Kam To Control Point yesterday and found about 1.2 million suspected illicit cigarettes inside 134 foam boxes. A male driver was arrested and the truck has been detained for investigation.
On the same day, Customs officers intercepted a woman in Tin Shui Wai and seized about 1 200 suspected illicit cigarettes. Upon subsequent search of the woman's flat in the district, Customs officers further seized about 27 000 suspected illicit cigarettes and arrested another woman in the flat.
Customs officers also detected six suspected cases of peddling illicit cigarettes and arrested six men with the seizure of about 6 600 suspected illicit cigarettes during the two days.
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.
Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, anyone involved in dealing with, possession of, selling or buying illicit cigarettes commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $1 million and imprisonment for two years.
Members of the public may report any suspected illicit cigarette activities to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.
Ends/Thursday, August 3, 2017