In the past week, Hong Kong Customs cracked two large-scale cigarette smuggling cases at the Customs and Excise House Inspection Yard, seizing a total of about 1 million suspected illegal cigarettes, with an estimated market value of about $500 million and a total chargeable value of about $5 million.
Sea on suspected private cigarettes seized on the 21st of this month. (Provided by customs)
In the first case, on the 21st of this month, through risk management and intelligence analysis, Hai Zhao selected and inspected a 20-foot sea container arriving from Cambodia that was reported to contain palm oil, and seized about 400 million suspected private cigarettes in the container.
As for another case, which was solved on the 25th of this month, customs officers inspected a 40-foot sea container that arrived from South Korea and was reported to contain car parts, and seized about 1 million suspected private cigarettes in the container. The two cases are still under investigation and the Customs and Excise Department will continue to trace the source and destination of the illegal cigarettes.
Sea on suspected private cigarettes seized on the 25st of this month. (Provided by customs)
Customs reiterates that smuggling is a serious crime. Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person who imports or exports unmanifested cargo is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $200 million and imprisonment for 7 years. In addition, buying and selling illegal cigarettes is also illegal. Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, any person who handles, possesses, sells or buys private cigarettes commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $100 million and imprisonment for two years.
Members of the public may report suspected smoking activities by calling the Customs and Excise Department's 24-hour hotline at 2545 6182 or through the dedicated crime reporting email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) or online form (eform.cefs.gov.hk/form/ced002/).