Public reminded to observe regulation on export of powdered formula for infants and children under 36 months

7 Jul 2015

The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) today (July 7) reminded members of the public and persons departing Hong Kong to observe the regulation effective from March 1, 2013, concerning the export from Hong Kong of powdered formula for infants and children under 36 months (powdered formula).

The reminder came after three cases heard at Fanling Magistrates' Courts in late June and today. A 24-year-old local man was sentenced to four months' imprisonment today for illegal exporting of excessive powdered formula from Hong Kong. The man was intercepted on July 6 when departing Hong Kong at the departure hall of Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point. He was found in possession of 102 boxes of powdered formula with a total net weight of 72.8 kilograms (kg), exceeding the limit of 1.8kg. The man pleaded guilty to the charge today at Fanling Magistrates' Courts and the court imposed an immediate custodial sentence. All the powdered formula involved in the case was confiscated.

In the other two cases involving the same offence, a 48-year-old local man and a 44-year-old woman returning to the Mainland were each sentenced to four weeks of imprisonment by Fanling Magistrates' Courts on June 29. In an operation against the illegal exporting of powdered formula mounted at the departure hall of Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point on June 28, they were intercepted by C&ED officers seperately and found respectively to be in possession of 26.1kg and 25.2kg of powdered formula for export, which exceeded the limit. They were arrested and remanded for formal charging of the related offence. On June 29, they were convicted by Fanling Magistrates' Courts and each sentenced to immediate imprisonment of four weeks. All the powdered formula concerned was confiscated.

The Import and Export (General)(Amendment) Regulation 2013 prohibits the unlicensed export of powdered formula, including milk powder and soya milk powder, 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 1.8kg in total net weight that is exported in the 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.

The C&ED will continue to crack down on powdered formula smuggling at boundary control points, and to detect syndicated activities and trace stores for smuggling powdered formula. The department would also strengthen bilateral co-operation with Mainland Customs, including the exchange of information and conduct of joint operations as necessary.

From March 2013 to June 2015, a total of 10 321 cases involving 10 368 persons were convicted by court for contravention of the export control regulation for powdered formula.

Of the convicted cases, the court imposed a penalty in most cases of a fine between $200 and $150,000. A total of 417 persons were sentenced to immediate imprisonment of one day to 140 days, and 918 persons were sentenced to imprisonment of six days to 10 months suspended from 12 months to 36 months.

Ends/Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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