Customs smashes two illicit cigarette smuggling cases (with photos)

13 Dec 2012

During a one-week special operation, Hong Kong Customs smashed two illicit cigarette smuggling cases in Lok Ma Chau Control Point and Man Kam To Control Point on December 10 and 11 respectively with about 3.32 million sticks of duty-not-paid cigarettes seized on board two cross-boundary lorries.

The total value of the illicit cigarettes was about $8.3 million with a duty potential of about $5.66 million. Two male drivers, aged 46 and 44, were arrested in the operation and the two lorries for conveying the illicit cigarettes were seized for investigation.

In both cases, the illicit cigarettes were mix-loaded with other goods and concealed in the rear of the cargo compartments of the lorries. The smugglers tried evading Customs detection with false declarations.

For the case effected at Lok Ma Chau Control Point on December 10, Customs officers intercepted a cross-boundary lorry with a declaration of 866 boxes of assorted goods on board. After X-ray examination and thorough inspection by Customs officers, about 0.9 million sticks of illicit cigarettes were found in 103 carton boxes.

Another case took place at Man Kam To Control Point on December 11. Customs officers inspected a cross-boundary lorry declared as carrying 388 cartons of electronic toys and found about 2.42 million sticks of illicit cigarettes in 197 carton boxes mixed-loaded with 139 boxes of toys as camouflage.

A Customs spokesperson said today (December 13) that with the approach of Christmas and the Lunar New Year, Customs will continue to carry out stringent enforcement against smuggling of illicit cigarette activities at control points to protect government revenue.

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, smuggling is a serious offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Members of the public are urged to report any suspected illicit cigarette activities to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Thursday, December 13 2012

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