Four importers convicted and fined HK$80,000 for contravening the Waste Disposal Ordinance

Illegally imported municipal waste was intercepted at the Kwai Chung Container Terminals by the Environmental Protection Department in October last year. Photo shows some of the seized municipal waste.

30th June 2020 – (Hong Kong)  Four importers, namely Vannex International Limited, Lutianyuan Trading Limited, Ming Will Disposal & Collect Limited and Ying Fung Plastic Co, were involved in five cases of illegal import of hazardous waste from Canada, Japan and Vietnam. The four importers were convicted and fined a total of HK$80,000 at Fanling Magistrates’ Courts today and on 23rd June for contravening the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO).

 An Environmental Protection Department (EPD) spokesman said, from September to December last year, with the assistance of the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED), enforcement officers of the EPD successfully intercepted around 90 tonnes of municipal waste and around 39 tonnes of waste toner cartridges, which are classified as hazardous waste, illegally entering Hong Kong during the inspections of eight sea containers at the Kwai Chung Container Terminals.

 The EPD immediately returned all the intercepted municipal waste and hazardous waste to the places of origin and notified the local enforcement authorities concerned about the return shipments. The EPD also instituted prosecutions against the four importers under the WDO.

 The EPD spokesman added that to further strengthen the interception of waste of various types entering Hong Kong illegally through different channels, in recent years the EPD has been reinforcing its exchanges of intelligence and collaborations with the C&ED and nearby countries as well as regions to carry out analyses and random inspections of suspected container shipments of waste illegally importing into or exporting from Hong Kong based on a risk-assessment approach, with a view to enhancing the enforcement effectiveness. Last year, the EPD successfully intercepted a total of 99 cases of illegal import and export of waste container shipments, an increase of 46 cases, or over 85 per cent, when compared to those of 2018. The EPD will continue to rigorously combat the illegal import and export activities of hazardous waste and bring offenders to justice to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a distribution hub for illegally imported and exported waste.

The spokesman reminded importers and exporters of the waste recycling trade not to illegally import (including import into or transshipment through Hong Kong) or export hazardous waste. According to the WDO, it is an offence for anyone to import or export hazardous waste without obtaining a valid permit beforehand. First-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and six months’ imprisonment. For subsequent offences, offenders are liable to a fine of $500,000 and two years’ imprisonment.