Hong Kong Customs seizes suspected illicit cigarettes worth about $30 million (with photo)

29 Jun 2021

Hong Kong Customs yesterday (June 28) seized about 11 million suspected illicit cigarettes in Yuen Long with an estimated market value of about $30 million and a duty potential of about $21 million.

During an anti-illicit cigarette operation conducted in Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long, yesterday evening, Customs officers intercepted a container truck and found the batch of suspected illicit cigarettes inside the container. Two men, aged 52 and 44, suspected to be connected with the case were arrested. The container truck suspected to be connected with the case was also detained.

Investigation is ongoing. Customs will continue to trace the source and the flow of the illicit cigarettes. The likelihood of further arrests is not ruled out.

Customs has so far seized over 214 million suspected illicit cigarettes this year, a figure that has surpassed last year's total seizure amount.

Customs will continue its multi-pronged enforcement approach to combat illicit cigarette activities on all fronts, including cross-boundary smuggling, storage and distribution, as well as peddling of illicit cigarettes.

Smuggling is a serious offence. Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting unmanifested cargo is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

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

Members of the public may report any suspected illicit cigarette activities to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).

Ends/Tuesday, June 29, 2021

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