Hong Kong Customs detects ocean-going vessel smuggling case involving about $12 million (with photos)

     â€‹Hong Kong Customs on February 21 detected a suspected case of using an ocean-going vessel to smuggle goods to Malaysia at the Kwai Chung Container Terminals. A large batch of suspected smuggled goods, including electronic waste, vehicle parts and TV set-top boxes, with a total estimated market value of about $12 million was seized.

     Through intelligence analysis and risk assessment, Customs discovered that criminals intended to use ocean-going vessels to smuggle goods and then formulated strategic enforcement operations. An ocean-going vessel preparing to depart from Hong Kong to Malaysia was successfully identified.

     Upon inspection, Customs officers found inside two containers on board the vessel, which were declared as carrying aluminium alloy, a large batch of suspected smuggled goods, including over 13 tonnes of electronic waste, about 1 800 vehicle parts and about 1 600 TV set-top boxes.

     After a follow-up investigation, Customs officers arrested a 57-year-old woman suspected to be connected with the case the next day.

     An investigation is ongoing. The arrested woman has been released on bail pending further investigation and the likelihood of further arrests is not ruled out.

     Customs is the primary agency responsible for the suppression of smuggling activities and has all along been combating various smuggling activities proactively at the forefront. Customs will keep up its enforcement action and continue to fiercely combat sea smuggling activities through proactive risk management and intelligence-based enforcement strategies, along with mounting targeted anti-smuggling operations at suitable times to land a solid blow against relevant activities.

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

     Under the Waste Disposal Ordinance, it is an offence for anyone to import or export hazardous waste without obtaining a valid permit beforehand. First-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and six months' imprisonment. For subsequent offences, offenders are liable to a fine of $500,000 and two years' imprisonment.

     Members of the public may report any suspected smuggling activities to Customs' 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or its dedicated crime-reporting email account (crimereport@customs.gov.hk).

Ends/Monday, February 27, 2023
Issued at HKT 16:48