Public reminded to observe regulation on export of powdered formula for infants and children under 36 months

25 Feb 2016

The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) today (February 25) reminded members of the public and persons departing Hong Kong to observe the regulation effective from March 1, 2013, concerning the export of powdered formula for infants and children under 36 months (powdered formula) from Hong Kong.

A 54-year-old man was sentenced to six months' imprisonment yesterday (February 24) at Fanling Magistrates' Courts for illegal export of powdered formula. This is the heaviest penalty imposed among cases of a similar nature. All powdered formula involved in this case was confiscated. The man was intercepted on December 17, 2015, at the departure hall of Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point, and 85 kilograms of powdered formula was found in his possession.

Fanling Magistrates' Courts also sentenced five men, aged between 23 and 49, each to 10 weeks' to three months' imprisonment for illegal export of excessive powdered formula from Hong Kong on February 1 to 6, 2016. All the powdered formula involved in the cases was confiscated. The five persons were intercepted by Customs officers between January 31 and February 5 at the departure hall of Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point. They were found to have between 33.36kg and 50.4kg of powdered formula, which exceeded the limit of 1.8kg, in their possession.

Under the Import and Export (General)(Amendment) Regulation 2013, it is an offence to export powdered formula, including milk powder and soya milk powder, for infants and children under 36 months without a licence. To allow a reasonable quantity for personal use, the prohibition does not apply to powdered formula not exceeding 1.8kg in total net weight that is exported in the accompanied personal baggage of a person leaving Hong Kong. However, the person must be aged 16 or above and must not have left Hong Kong in the last 24 hours. Offenders may face a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for two years upon conviction.

The C&ED will continue to crack down on powdered formula smuggling at boundary control points, and to detect syndicated activities and trace stores for smuggling powdered formula. The department will also strengthen bilateral co-operation with Mainland Customs, including exchange of information and conduct of joint operations as necessary.

From March 2013 to January 31, 2016, a total of 12 882 persons were convicted by court for contravention of the regulation. Among them, 626 persons were sentenced to immediate imprisonment from one day to 140 days, and 1 035 persons were sentenced to imprisonment of six days to 10 months suspended from 12 months to 36 months.

Ends/Thursday, February 25, 2016

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