Overnight operation to crack down on textiles offences

30 Aug 2004

By conducting overnight blitz operations at control points, Hong Kong Customs reaffirm its determination to enforce the Import and Export Ordinance to uphold the integrity of the certification of origin system.

The Head of the Textiles Tactical Investigation Bureau, Mr Marcus Lau, said today (August 30) that while there were only a handful of dishonest textiles traders who might defy the law, Hong Kong Customs officers were committed to taking unrelenting enforcement actions against those dishonest few to protect the interests of the honest great majority.

Officers of the Trade Controls Branch mounted a blitz operation codenamed "Snapshot" at Lok Ma Chau Control Point from 9pm on August 26 to 6.30am on August 27 against illegal circumvention of the rules of origin.

In this intelligence-led operation, Customs officers arrested four drivers, and seized a large quantity of substandard garments and garment cut-pieces on four lorries bound for the Mainland.

Customs investigations showed that those seized stuffs were intended to obtain false export endorsements on 53 sets of Outward Processing Arrangement (OPA) documents for sending about 130 000 Mainland origin garments, worth HK$7.3 million, to overseas markets, as if they were products of Hong Kong origin. 19 dishonest garment traders were involved.

Mr Lau reminded traders and manufacturers that the Import and Export Ordinance provides for heavy penalty for offenders against the Ordinance. An offender may be liable on summary conviction to a maximum fine of $500,000 and two years' imprisonment.

In the first six months of this year, the Customs has processed 254 137 OPA consignments. Only 82 OPA consignments (0.03 per cent) were seized.

In 2003, out of the 537 933 OPA consignments processed, the Customs only found 339 cases (0.06 per cent) not in order and seized these consignments.

Ends/Monday, August 30, 2004

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