Hong Kong Customs in joint operation with FEHD seizes about 3.4 tonnes of suspected smuggled hairy crabs at Man Kam To Control Point (with photos)

2 Nov 2023

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 and seized about 3.4 tonnes of suspected smuggled hairy crabs with an estimated market value of about $2.3 million.

Customs officers on that day intercepted an incoming goods vehicle at the control point. Upon inspection, the batch of suspected unmanifested hairy crabs was found mix-loaded with other properly declared goods on board the vehicle.

Furthermore, 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.

An investigation is ongoing. A 49-year-old male goods vehicle driver is assisting the investigation.

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.

Customs also reminds the trade not to import or put on sale hairy crabs with an unknown origin, and consumers should make purchases at reputable shops with the Shell Fish (Hairy Crab) Permit or relevant written permission granted by the FEHD.

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 (crimereport@customs.gov.hk) or online form (eforms.cefs.gov.hk/form/ced002/).

Ends/Thursday, November 2, 2023

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