Hong Kong Customs seize $52 million of illicit cigarettes

The smugglers marked the contents of the shipping containers arriving from the UAE as “furniture”.
But due to an exchange of information and cooperation with other enforcement authorities overseas, Hong Kong Customs knew better.
Officers swooped on two 40-foot shipping containers at the Tuen Mun River Trade Terminal and Kwai Chung Customhouse Cargo Examination Compound on December 12 and 15. Inside, they found a total of some 19 million illicit cigarettes with a market value of about HK$52 million and duty potential of about $36 million.
“The operation showed the effectiveness of our enforcement through a strategy of international cooperation and intelligence exchange,” a Customs spokesman said.
“Hong Kong Customs will continue cooperation with other enforcement agencies as well as escalated enforcement actions against smuggling activities at source to combat illicit cigarette syndicates.”
If the individuals behind the shipments are identified and arrested they face up to seven years in jail and a fine of $2 million.
“Under the Import and Export Ordinance, smuggling is a serious offence,” the official said.
Customs operates a 24-hour hotline for people to pass on information about smuggling activities. The number is 2545 6182.

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