Customs foils fishing vessel smuggling case (with photos)

31 Oct 2013

Hong Kong Customs conducted an operation against sea smuggling yesterday (October 30) and detected a case of smuggling by a fishing vessel in Hong Kong's western waters.

During the operation, some 320 kilogrammes of pangolin scales, 442 handheld game consoles, 2 119 mobile phones, a small quantity of methamphetamine, methamphetamine inhalation apparatuses and a fishing vessel with a total value of over $3.6 million were seized. Two men aged 34 and 40 were arrested.

Yesterday morning, officers of the Customs Marine Enforcement Group spotted a suspicious fishing vessel leaving Hong Kong off Tap Shek Kok, Tuen Mun. When officers took enforcement action, the vessel immediately accelerated and fled. The fishing vessel was finally intercepted off Sha Chau.

A total of 26 boxes of smuggled goods, a small amount of methamphetamine and inhalation apparatuses were found on board the vessel. The vessel was seized and the coxswain and a crew member were arrested.

Smuggling and trading of endangered species and the possession of drugs are serious offences. Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of exporting unmanifested cargo is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of trading endangered species for commercial purposes is liable to a maximum fine of $5 million and imprisonment for two years.

Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, the possession of drugs is a serious offence. The maximum penalty is up to imprisonment for seven years and a fine of $1 million.

The Customs will continue to take stringent enforcement action to combat sea smuggling activities. Members of the public can report suspected smuggling activities to the Customs through the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

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