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Hong Kong Customs smashes suspected smuggling syndicate of smartphones and precious metal (with photos)

     Hong Kong Customs smashed a suspected smuggling syndicate of smartphones and precious metal during an anti-smuggling operation yesterday evening (July 29). This is the first time that Customs has detected a syndicate suspected of smuggling goods in altered fuel tanks and battery cases of lorries.

     Customs officers found 248 smartphones, with an estimated value of about $1 million, concealed in false compartments inside two battery cases of a lorry at Lok Ma Chau Control Point on July 7 and arrested a 48-year-old male driver.

     Upon follow-up investigation, an outbound lorry of a suspected smuggling syndicate was intercepted at Lok Ma Chau Control Point yesterday evening. A total of 432 smartphones and about 50 kilograms of silver beads in seven packs were found concealed in a false compartment inside the fuel tank of the lorry. The 48-year-old male driver was arrested. The seizure value amounted to about $360,000.

     Immediately after the arrest, Customs officers conducted a search at a shed in Tai Po where 724 smartphones and about 170kg of silver bars and beads, as well as a batch of smartphone screens and memory cards, valued at about $4.43 million in total, were seized. Some of the smartphones and silver seized were found inside two altered battery cases. Two men aged 35 and 36 were arrested. Investigation is continuing.

     Hong Kong Customs will continue to monitor closely the smuggling trends and strengthen its enforcement efforts to combat smuggling activities.

     Smuggling is a serious offence. Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of exporting unmanifested cargo is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years.

Ends/Thursday, July 30, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:37


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