Hong Kong Customs mounted a two-day special operation on January 2 and 3 at the Lo Wu Control Point targetting the export of unlicensed powdered formula for infants and children under 36 months (powdered formula). In the operation, 29 men and 35 women, aged between 19 and 81, were arrested in a total of 64 cases. A total of 450 kilogrammes (in 468 boxes and 68 cans) of powdered formula were seized with a total value of about $157,000. Among the cases, the largest single case involved the seizure of about 20 kilogrammes of powdered formula.
The Head of Rail and Ferry Command of Hong Kong Customs, Ms Louise Ho, said today (January 3) at a press briefing that the suspected smugglers hid the powdered formula in backpacks, handbags or suitcases or used trolleys to move the powdered formula across the border. In the operation, Customs also found that some suspected smugglers kept information such as the names of the persons involved, contact telephone numbers and quantities of the powdered formula.
Ms Ho added that as the Lunar New Year was approaching, both Hong Kong Customs and Mainland Customs would step up enforcement action and conduct special operations to combat such illegal activities.
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.
Anyone with information about the unlicensed export of powdered formula may report to Hong Kong Customs by calling the 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.
Ends/Friday, January 3 2014