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Incoming passengers to lose duty-free concessions on tobacco products
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@@@The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, in his Budget speech today (February 24) proposed to abolish duty-free concessions on tobacco products for incoming passengers to Hong Kong as a means to further protect public health.  

@@@Elaborating on the proposed arrangements, a government spokesman said small amounts of tobacco products for own consumption would be exempted to facilitate law enforcement.
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@@@"Incoming passengers may carry up to 19 cigarettes; or one stick or 25 grammes of cigar (to cater for the varieties of packaging of cigars in the retail market, incoming passengers who have with them more than one cigar will be subject to a ceiling of 25 grammes); or 25 grammes of other manufactured tobacco products," the spokesman said.  "Incoming passengers will be entitled to only any one kind of tobacco product. Passengers who carry tobacco products in excess of this limit must make declarations and pay the relevant duty.  

@@@"The limit will apply to all incoming passengers.  The 24-hour rule on time spent outside Hong Kong for entitlement of the duty-free concessions on tobacco products that currently applies to Hong Kong identity card holders will be removed.  This is to avoid frequent travellers between Hong Kong and the Mainland who may have in their possession small amounts of tobacco products for own consumption being caught for not making the necessary declaration in accordance with the law," the spokesman said.   

@@@The measure will take effect on completion of the legislative processes and is expected to be implemented in the third quarter of this year at the earliest.

@@@"Before the implementation of the new measure, we will conduct extensive publicity activities, including making announcements via the media and placing notices at border control points, as well as notifying the tourism industry and other countries, to ensure that both the public and incoming passengers are well-prepared for the new measure," the spokesman said.  

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Issued at HKT 18:54

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