1st June 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong Customs conducted an anti-smuggling operation in the southeast waters of Hong Kong on 31st May and detected a suspected smuggling case involving a barge. Customs officers seized about 40 tonnes of suspected smuggled frozen meat with an estimated market value of about $4 million.
During the operation, Customs officers spotted a suspicious barge in the waters off Waglan Island. Several men on the barge were unloading a batch of goods onto a fishing vessel, suspected of participating in smuggling activities. Customs officers immediately took action and intercepted the fishing vessel, the barge, and a tugboat. The batch of suspected smuggled frozen meat was seized on board the fishing vessel and the barge.
Nine men, aged between 29 and 54, suspected to be connected with the case were arrested during the operation. An investigation is ongoing.
Customs is the primary agency responsible for the suppression of smuggling activities and has been combatting various smuggling activities proactively at the forefront. Customs officers will continue to fiercely combat sea smuggling activities through proactive risk management and intelligence-based enforcement strategies, along with mounting targeted anti-smuggling operations at suitable times to land a solid blow against relevant activities.
Smuggling is a serious offence in Hong Kong, and under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting unmanifested cargo is liable to a maximum fine of $2 millionand imprisonment for seven years. Hong Kong Customs encourages members of the public to report any suspected smuggling activities to its 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account ([email protected]).
The seizure of $4 million worth of suspected smuggled frozen meat highlights the ongoing problem of smuggling in Hong Kong. Customs officers have been vigilant in their efforts to suppress smuggling activities, and this recent operation is a testament to their commitment. The seizure also underscores the importance of intelligence-based enforcement strategies and targeted anti-smuggling operations. Such measures are necessary to combat smuggling activities and protect the integrity of Hong Kong’s borders.
The suspected smuggled frozen meat will be disposed of according to the law, and the investigation into the case will continue. Customs officers will remain vigilant in their efforts to combat smuggling activities and encourage the public to report any suspected illegal activities. Through these efforts, Hong Kong Customs aims to protect the safety and security of its citizens and maintain the rule of law.