Customs seizes $5.7 million worth of smuggled cigarettes

15 Oct 2004

Customs officers last night (October 14) seized about $5.71 million worth of smuggled cigarettes from a river trade vessel arriving from the Mainland.

At about 7pm, Customs officers from the Ports and Maritime Command examined a 20-foot-long container declared to be carrying 318 cartons of plastic utensils from a river trade vessel that had arrived from Huangpu. As a result, the officers found 3.81 million sticks of duty-not-paid cigarettes, carrying a duty potential of $3.06 million.

A spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department said investigations were continuing. "No arrest has been made yet."

He said Customs officers would continue to be vigilant and conduct rigorous enforcement action against cross-boundary smuggling activities.

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, anyone found guilty of "importing unmanifested cargoes" is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and seven years' imprisonment. The smuggled goods and vessel involved are also liable to forfeiture.

Ends/Friday, October 15, 2004

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