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Hong Kong Customs seizes suspected illicit cigarettes worth about $106 million (with photo)

16 September 2022


Hong Kong Customs on September 12 detected a large-scale illicit cigarette smuggling case and seized a total of about 39 million suspected illicit cigarettes with an estimated market value of about $106 million and a duty potential of about $73 million in Lau Fau Shan.

During an anti-illicit cigarette operation conducted in Lau Fau Shan in the evening on that day, Customs officers intercepted a container truck near Ping Ha Road and seized about 12 million suspected illicit cigarettes inside a 40-foot container. After an initial investigation, Customs officers searched another two 40-foot containers at a container yard nearby and further seized about 27 million suspected illicit cigarettes.

During the operation, Customs officers arrested a 60-year-old male container truck driver suspected to be connected with the case and detained three containers suspected to be involved.

An investigation is ongoing. Customs will continue to trace the source and the flow of the illicit cigarettes. The likelihood of further arrests is not ruled out.

Including the suspected illicit cigarettes seized in this operation, Customs has seized about 419 million suspected illicit cigarettes this year as at September 13, an increase of about 51 per cent compared to around 278 million seized during the same period last year.

Customs will continue its risk assessment and intelligence analysis for interception at source as well as through its multi-pronged enforcement strategy targeting storage, distribution and peddling to spare no effort in combating illicit cigarette activities.

Smuggling is a serious offence. Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting unmanifested cargo is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Customs reminds members of the public that it is an offence to buy or sell illicit cigarettes. Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, anyone involved in dealing with, possession of, selling or buying illicit cigarettes commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $1 million and imprisonment for two years.

Members of the public may report any suspected illicit cigarette activities to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).

Hong Kong Customs on September 12 detected a large-scale illicit cigarette smuggling case and seized a total of about 39 million suspected illicit cigarettes with an estimated market value of about $106 million and a duty potential of about $73 million in Lau Fau Shan. Photo shows the suspected illicit cigarettes seized. (Opens a new window)
Hong Kong Customs on September 12 detected a large-scale illicit cigarette smuggling case and seized a total of about 39 million suspected illicit cigarettes with an estimated market value of about $106 million and a duty potential of about $73 million in Lau Fau Shan. Photo shows the suspected illicit cigarettes seized.

Ends/Friday, September 16, 2022

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