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HK Customs Smashes Illicit Cigarette Smuggling Case

Issued: August 04 2014

On August 2, 2014, Hong Kong Customs mounted a special operation at Lok Ma Chau Control Point to combat cigarette smuggling into Hong Kong. During the operation, 1.3 million sticks of illicit cigarettes were seized from a cross-boundary vehicle. The total market value of the cigarettes was about HK$3.5 million (US$452,000) with a duty potential of about HK$2.5 million (US$323,000). A 38-year-old male driver was arrested and the vehicle used for conveying the illicit cigarettes was seized.

Around 2am in the morning of the said date, Customs officers intercepted an incoming cross-boundary vehicle declared to have 688 boxes of DVD players on board at Lok Ma Chau Control Point. After X-ray examination and thorough inspection by Customs officers, about 1.3 million sticks of illicit cigarettes were found in 82 carton boxes mix-loaded with other goods. The cigarettes were sorted and packed in batches according to orders placed with a view for quick delivery to buyers.

A Customs spokesman said at a press conference, "The operation showed the effectiveness of our enforcement strategy, especially the stepped-up enforcement actions against smuggling activities at source. Customs will continue to carry out stringent enforcement action against the smuggling of illicit cigarettes at boundary control points."

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, smuggling is a serious offence. The maximum penalty is a fine of HK$2 million (US$260,000) and imprisonment for seven years.


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