Anti-smuggling raid nets $500m worth of frozen meat

Top News | Wallis Wang 6 Oct 2021

A container yard owner has been arrested over an alleged cold storage and smuggling operation involving at least HK$500 million worth of imported frozen meat bound for the mainland.

Sixty-eight 12-meter-long containers with 1,700 tonnes of smuggled frozen meat were seized from a container yard on Lung Kwu Tan Road in Tuen Mun on Monday.

Chief inspector Au Yeung Tak from the New Territories North anti-triad unit, which worked a joint operation with the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, said two modified speedboats - with four to five outboard engines - were seized in the same yard.

The owner, surnamed Chow, 40, was arrested on suspicions of operating an unlicensed cold storage and construction of vessels for the purpose of smuggling.

He was also being questioned last night in connection with the death of marine police commander Lam Yuen-yee during an anti-smuggling operation last month. Chow is suspected to be connected with triads, Au Yeung said.

Police investigation pointed to the frozen meat having come from Brazil and the Netherlands and could be on their way to the mainland.

"It's possible this smuggling activity is controlled by triads, but we haven't found any evidence to prove that just yet," Au Yeung said.

Senior inspector Tai Po-yee said smugglers used containers with refrigeration functions to store meat for months. Police found 200 containers in the yard and more than 150 of them have that function, she said.

"The criminals would transport the frozen meat to international waters and then distribute them to speedboats for smuggling," she said.

In a separate operation, marine police and officers from the Government Flying Service found three suspected smuggling speedboats, 12- to 14 meter-long, hidden in mangroves in Hau Hoi Wan and Pak Mong on Lantau Island.

Marine police assistant commander Lau Ka-yip said the three speedboats have been installed with two to four outboard engines, allowing them to run as fast as 80 kilometers an hour at sea.

Lau said the speedboats were usually driven by mainlanders, who are not familiar with Hong Kong waters and pose a danger.

Stringent anti-smuggling operations are being carried out by police after the death Lam. She fell into the sea after her boat crashed when chasing smugglers in the waters off Tuen Mun on September 25.

Eastweek magazine, meanwhile, reported that police in Hong Kong and Guangdong have joined hands in combating smuggling activities by three triad societies which operate at least six docks that turn in a business volume of HK$7 billion.

Sources have said that all frozen meat smuggling in Hong Kong are organized by the Sun Yee On, Wo Shing Wo and 14K triads. A task force is analyzing information collected from the latest operations.

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