Customs seizes unmanifested freshwater fish

9 Sep 2005

Customs officers of Marine Enforcement Division seized 1,716kg unmanifested freshwater fish, worth about $81,400, from a fishing boat in the waters off Cheung Sha Wan Wholesale Food Market today (September 9) at about 3am.

The fishing boat had returned to Hong Kong from Guishan, Mainland.

This is the first case involving import of unmanifested freshwater fish cracked by Hong Kong Customs since 2004.

The seized fish were packed in 78 polystyrene boxes. Of them, 24 boxes contained live freshwater fish, including 2 boxes of yellow eel, 16 boxes of snakehead fish, four boxes of small snakehead fish and two boxes of cat fish.

The remaining 54 boxes were chilled freshwater fish products, including 39 boxes of mud carp fish meat, a box of mud carp fish bones, 12 boxes of grass carp fish heads, a box of big head fish parts, and a box of big head fish tails.

Four men, aged between 25 and 59, were arrested. They included three Mainland crewmen and a 59-year-old local ship master. They will later be charged under "Import and Export Ordinance".

Customs has notified Food and Environmental Hygiene Department about this case.

Divisional Commander (Marine Enforcement Division), Mr Lam Chi-keung, said, "This case demonstrates the close co-operation between Mainland and Hong Kong Customs in combating import of unmanifested goods into Hong Kong."

"Since late August, Hong Kong Customs has stepped up enforcement and tightened inspection of vessels coming in and leaving Hong Kong waters. The seizure of unmanifested freshwater fish in this case is concrete evidence of the success of Customs enforcement actions," he said.

Customs has cracked two and six cases involving unmanifested seafood in 2004 and 2005 respectively with seizure value of about $0.16 million and $2.64 million. These cases were related to illegal export of unmanifested seafood.

Any person found guilty of importing or exporting unmanifested cargo under the Import and Export Ordinance is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine of $2 million and seven years' imprisonment.

Ends/Friday, September 9, 2005

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