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Hong Kong Customs celebrates International Customs Day (with photos)

     The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, and the Commissioner of Customs and Excise, Mr Richard Yuen, today (January 19) officiated at a reception to celebrate 2009 International Customs Day (ICD).

     The theme for this year's ICD was "Customs and the Environment: Protecting our Natural Heritage", which highlights the commitment of customs authorities around the globe to the protection of the environment and the suppression of environmental crimes.

     Addressing the reception, Mr Tsang called on all governments, individuals and corporations to act in concert for the benefit of future generations.

     ¡§Environmental protection is one of the top priorities for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government. We have been taking the lead in addressing local and regional environmental concerns in collaboration with other key stakeholders,¡¨ Mr Tsang said.

     Apart from implementing local green measures, Mr Tsang said that Hong Kong had been working closely with the neighbouring Guangdong government, with a view to improving air quality in the Pearl River Delta region.

     Mr Tsang also commended Hong Kong Customs for taking vigorous enforcement actions in cracking down on environmental crimes.

     ¡§With the assistance of local partner departments and international counterparts, Hong Kong Customs has achieved impressive results in combating smuggling of endangered species and cross-border movement of environmentally sensitive goods. These goods include used batteries, television sets and computer parts,¡¨ Mr Tsang said.

     Ten Hong Kong customs officers were awarded the World Customs Organisation Certificate of Merit in recognition of their notable contributions to the green cause, including outstanding work on ¡§Project Sky-Hole-Patching¡¨, significant seizures of hazardous waste and endangered species, and the effective implementation of the ¡§Electronic System for Cargo Manifest¡¨. The certificates were presented by Mr Tsang.

     About 300 guests, including Executive and Legislative Council members, government officials, consuls general, foreign Customs attaches, and Customs representatives from the Mainland and Macau, joined today¡¦s celebration.

     Today's event is the 22nd celebration of International Customs Day by Hong Kong Customs since it became a member of the WCO in 1987. The year 2009 marks the 100th anniversary of the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.

Ends/Monday, January 19, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:51


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