Following the operation by Hong Kong Customs combatting the illegal export of powdered formula across the land boundary last week, Hong Kong Customs conducted a series of enforcement operations in the Northern District of New Territories, targeting the export of unlicensed powdered formula organised by syndicates. A syndicate operating on temporary basis at street level in Sheung Shui District was cracked down today (January 7). Hong Kong Customs believes that a powdered formula smuggling syndicate had been cracked down after the arrest of one man and two women (aged from 39 to 45). A total of 551 kilogrammes of powdered formula, valued at about $150,000, were seized.
At about 5pm today, Customs Officers found a male and a female was distributing powdered formula around San Fung Road, Sheung Shui. A female smuggler, aged 44, was intercepted by Customs Officer at the Lo Wu Control Point and 10.2 kilogrammes of powdered formula (in 12 boxes), valued at about $2,200, was found inside her rucksack. Customs Officers kept monitoring the man and the woman (aged 45 and 39 respectively) who distributed powdered formula. The two persons were subsequently arrested and about 551 kilogrammes of powdered formula (in total 507 boxes and 89 tins), valued at about $150,000, were seized.
The members of the smuggling syndicate and the smuggler would be charged with attempting to export prohibited articles not under and in accordance with an export licence, and assisting to export prohibited articles not under and in accordance with an export licence. Hong Kong Customs believes that the core members of the smuggling syndicate have been arrested.
The Customs will strengthen its enforcement effort to combat on powdered formula and other kinds of smuggling activities. Apart from deterrence at boundary control points, the Customs will also strengthen its enforcement at the area with illegal smuggling of powdered formula.
According to the Import and Export (General)(Amendment) Regulation 2013, Anyone, otherwise in accordance with an export licence or exempted, is prohibited to export 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.
In addition, 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/Tuesday, January 7 2014