Hong Kong Customs and the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) mounted a joint operation at the Man Kam To Control Point on October 31. About 2 400 kilograms of hairy crabs and about 254kg of meat, poultry and eggs, all without relevant health certificates, were seized. Customs officers also seized about 24 litres of suspected unmanifested strong liquors.
Customs Officers on that day intercepted an incoming goods vehicle at the control point. After inspection, the batch of goods with a total estimated market value of about $1.12 million was found on board the vehicle. Of this, the hairy crabs accounted for about $1.07 million; the meat, poultry and eggs accounted for about $30,000; while the strong liquors accounted for about $20,000.
The seized hairy crabs did not come with health certificates issued by the relevant authorities of the exporting economies and failed to comply with the requirements of the Shell Fish (Hairy Crab) Permit. The meat, poultry and eggs seized also came without health certificates issued by an issuing entity from the place of origin or obtaining prior permission in writing from the FEHD.
An investigation is ongoing. A 45-year-old male goods vehicle driver is assisting the investigation.
Customs reminds members of the public that 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.
According to the Imported Game, Meat, Poultry and Eggs Regulations, any person who imports game, meat, poultry or eggs should produce a health certificate issued by an issuing entity from the place of origin or obtain prior permission in writing from the FEHD. Offenders are liable on conviction to a fine of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment.
According to the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, all food available for sale in Hong Kong, locally produced or imported, should be fit for human consumption. An offender is subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months upon conviction. Moreover, under the Food Safety Ordinance, any person who, without reasonable excuse, does not register but carries on a food importation or distribution business commits an offence and is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.
Customs and the CFS will keep up close co-operation and intelligence exchanges, while joint operations will be conducted to combat illegal food import activities.
Members of the public may report any suspected smuggling activities to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ends/Wednesday, November 2, 2022