Customs smashes an illicit cigarette delivering and storage centre

8 Jul 2005

Customs officers of Revenue and General Investigation Bureau today (July 8) smashed an illicit cigarette storage and delivering centre in Sham Shui Po. They seized about 350,000 sticks of illicit cigarettes, valued at $560,000 with duty potential $280,000.

Five two-way permit holders including one man and four women, aged between 34 and 50, were arrested. They will later be charged with "dealing with goods to which Dutiable Commodities Ordinance was applied" under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, and breach of conditions of stay.

Customs officers conducted an operation in Sham Shui Po at about 6 am today (July 8). They intercepted a woman leaving an apartment and seized from her 1,200 sticks of illicit cigarettes.

Subsequently, Customs officers raided the apartment seizing 348,000 sticks of illicit cigarettes. A man and two women were arrested.

In the course of investigation, Customs officers arrested another woman, who arrived at the scene, and seized from her 1,400 sticks of illicit cigarettes.

Customs officers found that from the illicit cigarettes seized, 28,000 sticks were packed in three cartons, and believed that they were destined for United Kingdom or Europe.

"It is believed that the syndicate ran the peddling business from storage, distribution, retailing and delivery by mail by its own," a spokesman for the Customs and Excise Department said today.

He stressed that Hong Kong Customs would continue taking stringent enforcement actions to crack down on such illicit activities.

Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, the maximum penalty for dealing with dutiable goods is a fine of $1 million and two years' imprisonment.

End/Friday, July 8, 2005

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