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Customs seizes over 9,500 kilogrammes of illicit tobacco (with photos)

     The Hong Kong Customs has mounted an operation codenamed "Sky-net" since early December last year to combat the smuggling of tobacco by airmail. A total of over 9,500 kilogrammes of illicit tobacco valued at $27 million with duty potential over $20 million were seized.

     During the one-month long Operation, Customs officers smashed two tobacco smuggling syndicates with the arrest of four men, aged between 33 and 49, including the head of a syndicate. Customs intelligence revealed that with the increasing demand of tobacco during Christmas and New Year holidays, the offenders smuggled illicit tobacco to foreign countries with higher tobacco tax in order to make more profits. The officers of Airport Command, and Revenue and General Investigation Bureau jointly took enforcement action at the Airmail Centre and found the illicit tobacco parcels were declared as household products and posted in various post offices to avoid Customs detection. After investigations, the officers cracked the two syndicates and arrested the culprits.

     "Hong Kong Customs will spare no effort in combating illicit cigarette or tobacco activities. The Department reminds members of the public that using airmail for illicit purposes commits an offence," said the Group Head of Air Cargo, Mr Lam Ying-ho, today (January 9).  

     Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, anyone involved in, dealing with, possession, selling and buying illicit cigarette or tobacco commits an offence. The maximum penalty on conviction is imprisonment for two years and a fine of $1 million.

Ends/Monday, January 9, 2012
Issued at HKT 20:49


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