´╗┐Customs seizes 8 million illicit cigarettes for transshipment (with photo)

12 Apr 2010

Customs yesterday (April 11) foiled a smuggling attempt with a seizure of 8,519,800 sticks of illicit cigarettes in 852 cartons while inspecting a container at the Customs Cargo Examination Compound, River Trade Terminal, Tuen Mun. The illicit cigarettes were worth about $16 million with a duty potential of about $10 million.

Officers of the Anti-Illicit-Cigarettes Investigation Division and the Harbour and River Trade Division yesterday afternoon in a joint operation examined a 40-foot container declared as carrying "ovens" on board an incoming river trade vessel from Huangpu Port, Guangzhou. The officers found under X-ray examination that the density of the goods inside the container was different from the goods in the declaration and discovered the illicit cigarettes.

The container was destined for the United Kingdom via Hong Kong. Customs investigations are continuing and no arrest has been made so far.

Customs will closely monitor the use of transshipment as a means of smuggling, and will continue to take stringent enforcement action against cigarette smuggling in order to protect government revenues.

The public is urged to report any suspected illicit cigarette activities to the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, anyone involved in dealing with, selling or buying of illicit cigarettes commits an offence. The maximum penalty is imprisonment for two years and a fine of $1 million.

Ends/Monday, April 12, 2010

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