Starting from today (June 17), Hong Kong Customs carries out a parallel operation code-named "Operation Parrot" with the Mainland Customs to deter poultry smuggling at the control points, targeting both passengers and cargoes.
The Head of Control Points Command, Mr Ko Chi-lok, said today the Department had strengthened cooperation with its Mainland counterpart, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) to deter poultry smuggling in view of the suspension of import of live poultry and birds from the Mainland for three weeks starting from yesterday (June 16) after a confirmed H5N1 human case in Shenzhen.
The operation is carried out at Man Kam To, Lok Ma Chau, Sha Tau Kok and Lo Wu Control Points.
If Customs officers come across any suspected smuggling of poultry and birds, they will hand over the cases to FEHD or AFCD for follow-up action.
Briefing the media about the stepped-up surveillance, Mr Ko reminded the public not to smuggle into Hong Kong live poultry and birds or poultry meat, or they may face prosecution.
Mr Ko said, "We have tightened examination of suspicious imported cargoes and baggage at sea, land and air boundary.
"In addition to front-line officers, Hong Kong Customs will deploy plain-clothes officers to watch out for law breakers," he said.
Under the Import and Export Ordinance, Chapter 60, any person importing unmanifested cargo, or importing prohibited articles (e.g. frozen or chilled meat, poultry or bird) not under and in accordance with an import licence, is an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of $500,000 and imprisonment for two years.
Under the Imported Game, Meat and Poultry Regulations of the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance, Chapter 132 it is an offence to bring into Hong Kong any meat and poultry without an official certificate. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 and six months' imprisonment.
Under the Public Health (Animals and Birds) Regulations of the Public Health (Animals and Birds) Ordinance, Chapter 139, it is an offence to import into Hong Kong any bird, unless it is accompanied by a valid health certificate. The maximum penalty is a fine of $25,000.
There are poster display, broadcast of TV-Announcement in the Public Interest and public announcement at the various control points to remind members of the public to take precautionary measures to guard against avian flu and not to bring birds or poultry into Hong Kong illegally.
Ends/Saturday, June 17, 2006