Hong Kong Customs seizes 15 million suspected illicit cigarettes in major smuggling cases


27th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong Customs officials have successfully intercepted two significant cases of illicit cigarette smuggling at the Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound in the past week. A total of approximately 15 million suspected illicit cigarettes, valued at around $54 million, were seized. The duty potential for these cigarettes is estimated to be around $36 million.

The first case occurred on 21st September when Customs, based on risk assessment and intelligence analysis, selected and inspected a 20-foot seaborne container that had been declared as carrying palm oil. The container had arrived in Hong Kong from Cambodia. Upon inspection, Customs officers discovered approximately 4 million suspected illicit cigarettes concealed inside the container.

In the second case, which took place on 25th September, Customs officers inspected a 40-foot seaborne container that had arrived in Hong Kong from South Korea. The container had been declared as containing automobile parts. During the inspection, officers uncovered around 11 million suspected illicit cigarettes hidden within the container.

Investigations into both cases are currently ongoing, with Hong Kong Customs diligently working to trace the source and distribution network of these illicit cigarettes. The authorities are determined to uncover the individuals and organizations responsible for these smuggling attempts.