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Customs swoops on illicit cigarette smuggling syndicate in Tsing Yi (with photos)

     Hong Kong Customs yesterday (September 19) swooped on an illicit cigarette smuggling syndicate in Tsing Yi.  On board a cross-boundary container truck and a local lorry, a total of 110 boxes containing around 1.3 million sticks of duty-not-paid cigarette were found.  The total value is about $3.3 million with a duty potential of $2.3 million. In the operation, three Hong Kong men (aged 23 to 55) were arrested and two vehicles were seized.

     At about 3pm yesterday, while conducting an anti-illicit cigarette operation in Tsing Yi, Customs officers of Anti-illicit-cigarette Investigation Division spotted a suspicious cross-boundary container truck at the roadside of Tsing Yi Road. Three men were seen off-loading some carton boxes from the truck to a lorry.  Customs officers then took action and found 110 boxes of illicit cigarette inside the two vehicles. Three men were arrested immediately.

     Investigation revealed that illicit cigarette smuggling syndicate was trying to smuggle large number of illicit cigarette by cross-boundary vehicles into Hong Kong before the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holidays.  These cigarettes were sorted and packed in different types of packing according to local order for quick delivery to the black market.  A large quantity of genuine cargo was used as camouflage to prevent Customs officers from detection.

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

     Customs will continue to take stringent enforcement against cigarette smuggling activities to protect government revenue.

     Members of the public are urged to report any suspected illicit cigarette activities to the Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Ends/Thursday, September 20, 2012
Issued at HKT 00:23


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