Hong Kong Customs has procured four new High Speed Pursuit Craft (HSPC) under a replacement scheme over the past year to facilitate long-term operational developments towards battling sea smuggling activities.
The Assistant Commissioner (Boundary and Ports) of Customs and Excise, Mr Chan Tsz-tat, today (December 23) said that the replacement scheme is divided into two phases. Under the first phase, two new high-speed boats joined the fleet in May this year. The boats have so far participated in 10 operations, resulting in the seizure of electronic products, high-value food, frozen meat and live fish worth about $78 million in total. In one case, a seizure of about 540 tonnes of suspected smuggled frozen meat with an estimated market value of about $50 million was made, which also stands as the largest recorded seizure of frozen meat in the last decade.
Another batch of two new HSPC joined on December 18 in the second phase.
With their advanced performance, the new HSPC are Hong Kong's fastest government boats of its type. Apart from their speed superiority, the new boats also feature significant improvements in terms of manoeuvrability, endurance and night navigation. Capable of reaching any corner of Hong Kong waters within 45 minutes, the new HSPC help upgrade the fleet's mobility and responsiveness in combatting smuggling activities at sea.
Currently, a 22-strong fleet of five types of vessels operates under Hong Kong Customs. Five Sector Patrol Launches, four HSPC, two Shallow Water Craft, two Harbour Launches and nine Inflatable Craft carry out round-the-clock duties in the waters of Hong Kong.
With the four HSPC coming into force making more tactical operations possible, Mr Chan noted that the department's law enforcement power has attained a new level, allowing it to be more effective in fighting sea smuggling activities.
Hong Kong Customs pledges to continue its risk-management and intelligence-based enforcement strategies, along with maintaining close co-operation in its intelligence exchanges with local and overseas law enforcement agencies, to land a solid blow against sea-smuggling activities.
Ends/Monday, December 23, 2019