Customs makes biggest sea smuggling bust of year, seizing HK$50m worth of contraband

Local | 15 May 2021 12:15 pm

Hong Kong customs has made its biggest maritime smuggling bust of the year so far, seizing HK$50 million worth of high-value contraband destined for mainland China.

Customs officers yesterday conducted an anti-smuggling operation, intercepting a fishing vessel suspected of using restricted waters off the construction site of Hong Kong International Airport’s third runway project.

Among the goods confiscated were electronic products, dried fish maws, shark fins and luxury bags, along with 140 kilograms of raw amber stones.

The raw amber stones were said to be one-third of Customs’ total seizure in the same gemstone for the past 20 years.

A Customs spokesman said the smuggling gang was suspected of using the fishing vessel as a mobile storage center, using speedboats to carry the contrabands from Hong Kong waters to the boundary in the early hours.

He also said he believed the smuggling operation was designed to evade tariffs worth HK$42 million.

The spokesman added that officers gave chase to three suspects on speedboats during the operation, but the speedboat was finally found leaving Hong Kong waters.

The investigation is ongoing.

According to the department, the maximum penalty for attempting to export unmanifested cargo is a fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

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