Customs smashes syndicate and its store for smuggling powdered formula (with photos) 19 December 2013

19 Dec 2013

Hong Kong Customs today (December 19) cracked down on a suspected smuggling syndicate attempting to export unlicensed powdered formula by "ant-moving-home" approach. In the operation, two people were arrested at Lo Wu Control Point and a total of 17.6 kilogrammes of powdered formula (in 22 cans) for infants and children under 36 months (powdered formula) were seized. Meanwhile, a mastermind and two core members of the suspected syndicate were also arrested in a storage hut in Sheung Shui. Another 968.4 kilogrammes of powdered formula (in 1 076 cans/boxes), worth about $0.3 million, were seized therein.

In early December this year, Customs officers observed a suspected smuggling syndicate piling up powdered formula in a metal hut in Sheung Shui. The syndicate members were found retrieving powdered formula from the hut for distribution to people waiting nearby. These people were suspected to bring more than two tins of powdered formula and travelled to the Mainland via Lo Wu Control Point. Some of them even travelled several times within 24 hours. Customs officers stepped up monitoring on the syndicate and identified its members. Two men, aged 56 and 66 respectively, were arrested this afternoon when they were about to leave Hong Kong via Lo Wu Control Point. A total of 17.6 kilogrammes of powdered formula (in 22 cans) were seized, with a total value of $6,160.

Meanwhile, Customs officers kept on monitoring the syndicate members and their activities near the metal hut. Three men aged between 31 and 67, one of them believed to be the mastermind, were arrested near the metal hut this afternoon. A total of about 968.4 kilogrammes of powdered formula (in 1 076 cans/ boxes), worth around $0.3 million, were seized in the hut.

The people arrested will be charged for attempting to export unlicensed powdered formula and assisting in carriage of prohibited articles. It is believed that a powdered formula smuggling syndicate has been smashed with the arrest of its mastermind and core members.

The Customs will continue its efforts to crack down on powdered formula smuggling activities at boundary control points. The Import and Export (General)(Amendment) Regulation 2013 prohibits the unlicensed export of powdered formula for infants and children under 36 months. To allow a reasonable quantity for personal use, the prohibition does not apply to powdered formula not exceeding 1.8 kilogrammes in total net weight that is exported in the accompanied personal baggage of a person leaving Hong Kong. However, the person must be aged 16 or above and must not have left Hong Kong in the last 24 hours. Offenders may face a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for two years upon conviction.

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of assisting with the carrying/keeping of an article, the export of which is prohibited other than in accordance with a licence is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

The Customs will take continuous enforcement action against smuggling activities. Members of the public are welcomed to report any suspected smuggling activities to the Customs through Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Thursday, December 19 2013

Previous Page