The Customs detained a fishing vessel for investigation on December 7 and seized about 150,000 litres of marked oil worth about $0.81 million. The incident occurred during a routine anti-smuggling sea patrol. A man aged 47 was arrested.
While on morning patrol that day in Hong Kong's southwestern waters, Customs officers of the Marine Enforcement Group intercepted a fishing vessel off Cheung Chau and discovered the marked oil inside a number of the vessel's fuel tanks. A pump and an oil gauge believed to be used for speedy extraction of the oil were also found.
The master in charge of the vessel was arrested after failing to produce any export manifests to cover the oil. He was later put on bail pending further investigation.
Smuggling is a serious offence under the Import and Export Ordinance. The maximum penalty is a fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.
The Customs and Excise Department will take continuous actions against sea smuggling activities. Members of the public are urged to report any suspected smuggling activities through the Customs 24-hour Hotline 2545 6182.
Ends/Friday, December 10, 2010