Hong Kong Customs hold bilateral conferences with Australian and New Zealand Customs Services

13 Nov 2004

Commissioner of Hong Kong Customs, Mr Timothy Tong, led a five-member delegation to attend two bilateral conferences at Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand between November 8 and 12 with the Australian Customs Service (ACS) and the New Zealand Customs Service (NZCS) respectively.

The talks aimed to further enhance cooperation on law enforcement. The importance of regional and international cooperation to combat transnational crimes including drug trafficking and cigarette smuggling activities was highlighted. Experiences on recent successful cases were also shared.

In addition, agreement was reached between Hong Kong Customs and the two Customs Administrations respectively to establish an Immediate Notification System to expedite enforcement actions.

Commissioner Tong said, "This arrangement will enable enforcement officers to track down criminals and suspects at airports and beyond. It is extremely important especially in dangerous drugs and money laundering cases that require prompt customs intervention. "The two conferences also found their ways and means to facilitate Customs clearance of goods and passengers.

"We are learning from each other," Commissioner Tong said, "Australia is devoting most resources to upgrade their cargo clearance systems. New Zealand has introduced new measures on supply chain security in a pioneer mode. During the conferences, Hong Kong has explained to the two international partners its initiatives to speed up cargo clearance at the land boundary including the use of Automatic Vehicle Recognition System, unified cargo manifests and green Customs seals." All parties had agreed that the right balance must be maintained between cargo security and trade facilitation.

Participating parties also reviewed their cooperation in the past years, updated each other on the recent strategic and technological developments, and discussed various issues of mutual and regional concern.

The Australian delegation was led by the Chief Executive Officer of ACS, Mr Lionel Woodward while the New Zealand delegation was led by the Controller of NZCS, Mr Martyn Dune.

Ends/Saturday, November 13, 2004

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