The Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, Dr York Chow, this morning (July 13) visited Lok Ma Chau Control Point to learn about the frontline operations of Hong Kong Customs, particularly in relation to enforcement against meat and poultry smuggling.
Accompanying Dr Chow were the Commissioner of Customs and Excise Timothy Tong, Assistant Commissioner Leung Koon-wah, and Chief Superintendent Ko Chi-lok.
Commissioner Tong briefed Dr Chow on the advanced equipment used for detecting contraband goods, and the joint operations conducted with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) to deter meat and poultry smuggling activities.
To effectively detect illegal importation of meat and poultry, Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) and FEHD hold regular meetings to exchange intelligence essential for the conduct of joint operations. At the operational level, both Departments have established designated contact points for speedy exchange on enforcement strategies and other operational matters.
Last year, the Control Points Command of C&ED mounted 61 joint operations at the land boundary control points with FEHD to curb illegal importation of meat and poultry. Similarly, 31 such joint operations were conducted between January and June this year.
Commissioner Tong said that in spite of the heavy passenger and vehicular flows at the land boundary control points, Hong Kong Customs officers had all along been maintaining full vigilance to detect smuggling activities, constantly mounting intelligence-led operations backed up by an effective intelligence mechanism.
Between January and June this year, Customs officers seized 13,302 kg illicit pork and 4,027 kg illicit chicken at the land boundary control points. In 2004, 30,064 kg illicit pork and 11,862 kg illicit chicken were seized.
Apart from visiting the Customs Arrival Hall and the Cargo Examination Compound, Dr Chow saw for himself the Vehicle X-ray Inspection System at Lok Ma Chau.
Ends/Wednesday, July 13, 2005