Hong Kong Customs mounts operation to combat illicit cigarettes (with photo)

10 Aug 2017

Hong Kong Customs mounted a territory-wide operation from August 3 to yesterday (August 9) to combat illicit cigarette activities on all fronts, including cross-boundary smuggling, storage and distribution as well as peddling. During the operation, about 1.87 million suspected illicit cigarettes with an estimated market value of about $5.2 million and a duty potential of about $3.65 million were seized.

Customs officers intercepted an incoming truck declared as carrying ceramic crafts at Lok Ma Chau Control Point yesterday. After a search, Customs officers seized about 1.8 million suspected illicit cigarettes from 229 carton boxes on board the truck. A 52-year-old male driver was arrested and the truck has been detained for investigation.

Customs officers also seized 50 000 suspected illicit cigarettes from two residential units in Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po on August 4 and 9 respectively. Two men and one woman were arrested.

Customs officers further detected 17 suspected peddling cases with the seizure of about 20 000 suspected illicit cigarettes during the past week. Ten men and eight women were arrested.

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.

Customs reminds members of the public that buying and selling illicit cigarettes are criminal offences and that conviction would lead to a criminal record. 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 10, 2017

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