Hong Kong Customs will step up enforcement against cross-boundary illicit cigarette activities before the coming Lunar New Year holiday. About 1 million suspected illicit cigarettes as well as about 17 litres of suspected duty-not-paid liquor with an estimated market value of about HK$2.9 million and a duty potential of about HK$2 million were seized at Shenzhen Bay Control Point yesterday.
Customs officers yesterday intercepted an incoming truck declared as carrying assorted goods at Shenzhen Bay Control Point and found the batch of suspected illicit cigarettes and suspected duty-not-paid liquor inside 122 cartons mix-loaded with other goods on board the truck. The 42-year-old male driver was then arrested.
Coupled with the two cases effected at Shenzhen Bay Control Point and Yuen Long early this month, Customs has seized a total of about 5 million suspected illicit cigarettes with an estimated market value of about $14 million and a duty potential of about $9.6 million.
Investigations of the abovementioned cases are ongoing.
Customs has all along striven to combat different kinds of illicit cigarette smuggling activities and will step up enforcement before and after holidays.
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.
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 ([email protected]).