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LCQ13: Combating smuggling activities

     Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Ambrose S K Lee, to a question by the Hon Lau Kong-wah in the Legislative Council today (December 1):


     It has been learnt that with the frequent business activities and travels between the Mainland and Hong Kong, the types of goods smuggled have been increasing, and some of the smuggled goods even have an adverse impact on law and order as well as people's livelihood in the two places.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) from January 2010 till now, of the total number of smuggling cases detected by the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED); the total value of the smuggled goods involved; whether there has been an upward trend in comparison with the same period last year; and the major items of smuggled goods seized in these cases and their quantities;

(b) regarding the types of smuggled goods and the smuggling practices in (a), whether the authorities have analysed and studied the latest trend in smuggling so as to formulate new measures to combat smuggling activities; if they have, of the details;

(c) given that it has been reported that a particular brand of tablet personal computers (tablet PCs) has been very popular recently and the supply of such tablet PCs cannot meet the demand on the Mainland, resulting in some smugglers commonly known as "couriers" to use the "ants moving home" tactic (i.e. smuggling small quantity of goods at a time) to smuggle this brand of tablet PCs into the Mainland, of the quantities of smuggled electronic products, such as the aforesaid brand of tablet PCs and mobile phones, etc., seized by C&ED in the first three quarters of this year; whether there has been an upward trend; of the measures implemented by the authorities to combat such smuggling activities; and

(d) given that it has been reported that some smugglers have been smuggling Hong Kong's newspapers relating to the Mark Six lotteries to the Mainland for profiteering purpose, indirectly promoting gambling and affecting the law and order on the Mainland, whether the authorities have stepped up interception of such smuggling activities; of the number of such smuggling cases detected; whether the authorities have conducted thorough investigation into the sources of such smuggling activities so as to curb such activities?



(a) In the first 10 months of this year, the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) detected 169 smuggling cases, involving a total seizure value of HK$320 million.  Compared with the same period last year, there is a slight increase of 5% and 8% in the number of cases detected and the total value of goods involved respectively.

     Among the items smuggled into the Mainland, computers and electronic products (such as computers and accessories, mobile phones and accessories, audio-visual products and electronic parts, etc.) were the more common items.  On the other hand, cigarette was the more common item smuggled into Hong Kong.  Since items seized in each case encompass a wide range of different articles with a multitude of categories, and the computing methods and units for different categories vary, we are not able to provide the relevant statistics on the quantity of goods seized.

(b) C&ED has always placed emphasis on intelligence gathering and analysis.  In view of the constantly changing types of smuggled goods and the modus operandi of the smugglers, C&ED will continue to step up their intelligence gathering efforts and analysis with a view to further combating smuggling activities.  At the same time, C&ED will keep exploring specific strategies such as stepping up inspection and using advanced equipment to enhance inspection capability and strengthen the effectiveness of its law enforcement work.  In addition, C&ED will continue to maintain close liaison with relevant local and Mainland law enforcement agencies for intelligence exchange and conducting joint anti-smuggling operations as necessary to bring smugglers to justice.

(c) and (d) Under the Import and Export Ordinance (Cap. 60), it is an offence to import or export any unmanifested cargo.  That said, cargo does not include items carried, and imported or exported by passengers on board of a vessel, aircraft or vehicle.

     As C&ED does not categorise its seized items according to the respective brand of personal computers and mobile phones, we are unable to provide enforcement-related data according to brand.  As for cases of not having "Mark Six newspapers" recorded in the manifest and exported such items into the Mainland, C&ED dealt with two cases in the first 10 months of this year.  C&ED will continue to carry out enforcement in accordance with the Import and Export Ordinance (Cap. 60).

Ends/Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Issued at HKT 15:01


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