New customs clearance system for passengers to take effect from Nov 1

20 Oct 2005

Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department today (October 20) announced that a new mode of customs clearance for arriving passengers at all sea, land and air control points would be launched on November 1, 2005.

Hosting a media briefing to introduce the new mode entitled the Red and Green Channel System (RGCS), the Head of Control Points Command, Mr Ko Chi-lok, said that the System served a threefold aim - to facilitate passenger clearance; to enhance revenue protection, and to align with international practice.

"Firstly, Hong Kong is one of the most popular tourist and business destinations in Asia and a major trading and transportation hub in the region. To deal with the increasing number of passengers, Hong Kong Customs constantly reviews its procedures and explores ways to speed up passenger clearance at control points. When diverted to two separate channels, incoming passengers can enjoy faster customs clearance service.

Secondly, introducing the RGCS will enhance revenue protection on dutiable goods. Passengers passing through the Green Channel with dutiable goods in excess of duty free concession entitlement may be subject to prosecution or penalty.

Thirdly, the implementation of the RGCS will align our passenger processing mode with international practice," he said, noting that Hong Kong Customs had made reference to successful experience in other Customs administrations, including the US, UK, Singapore, Japan and the Mainland.

In view of the effectiveness of the system, the World Customs Organization recommends Customs Administrations worldwide to adopt this customs clearance mode.

Under the new mode, incoming passengers are required to select an appropriate channel for customs declaration, that is, either the "Red Channel" or the "Green Channel" when they arrive at the Customs clearance area.

Passengers should go through the Red Channel to make declaration to Customs officers if they are:
having any prohibited/controlled goods; or
having dutiable commodities but not entitled to duty-free concession; or
having dutiable commodities exceeding their duty-free concession entitlement.

They should go through the Green Channel if they are:
having dutiable goods within their duty-free concession entitlement;
not having any dutiable goods or prohibited/controlled goods.

At the Red Channel, passengers are required to:
produce a valid licence or permit for the prohibited/controlled goods, failing which they may be liable to prosecution;
pay the duty on the dutiable commodities in excess of their duty free concession entitlement. They may also choose to abandon such goods if they do not wish to pay the duty.

Passengers at the Green Channel are liable to:
prosecution/penalty if they are found having undeclared dutiable commodities in excess of their duty free concession entitlement;
prosecution and confiscation of the prohibited/controlled goods if they are found having any of them without a valid licence/permit.

Those using the "Green Channel" are not exempt from Customs examination. Customs officers will, based on risk management, select passengers passing through the Green Channel for baggage examination at a Customs Clearance Cubicle. A passenger found with excessive quantity of dutiable commodities or any prohibited/controlled goods not being covered by a valid licence/permit may be liable to prosecution or penalty.

To publicise the Red and Green Channel System to local and international travellers, Hong Kong Customs will launch a publicity programme including a TV Announcement in the Public Interest (API), a radio API, distribution of leaflets and display of posters at all control points.

Besides, the Department has requested airlines to show an in- flight promotional video, and will distribute leaflets outside Hong Kong via Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices.

At the Airport, the Hong Kong Tourism Board will help distribute leaflets at its counters. The Airport Authority will show a promotional video at the TVs in the baggage reclaim hall, and offer relevant information at the Airport Multi-media information booths.

At all the control points, a promotional video will be shown on TVs and a promotional soundtrack will be broadcast through the public announcement system. In addition, the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation will assist to distribute leaflets at their service centres.

The public can obtain details of the Red and Green Channel System, duty free concession and the list of common prohibited/controlled goods by browsing the Hong Kong Customs website at or call the Customs enquiry hotline at 2815 7711.

Ends/Thursday, October 20, 2005

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