Hong Kong customs officers seize 200 tons of contraband meat

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Hong Kong Customs last week reported the seizure of a contraband ship carrying around 200 tonnes of frozen meat with an estimated market value of HK $ 5 million (US $ 642,000).

Hong Kong Customs last week reported the seizure of a contraband ship carrying around 200 tonnes of frozen meat with an estimated market value of HK $ 5 million (US $ 642,000). (Photo: Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department)The smuggling operation, conducted under cover of darkness along the island’s southwest waters, also saw officers arrest three men, aged 38 to 47.

Smuggling is considered a serious offense in Hong Kong. According to the authorities, under the Import and Export Ordinance, “anyone found guilty of importing or exporting unmanifested goods is liable to a fine of up to HK $ 2 million (256 $ 629) and a prison sentence of seven years.

Despite this, the city’s customs and excise department has encountered several cases in the past where smugglers have attempted to illegally sneak into meat and frozen products.

This should come as no surprise, given Hong Kong’s proximity to the South China Sea and the Pearl River Delta, one of the most densely populated regions in the world and a major trade hub in Southeast Asia. East.

In another overnight operation in October last year, customs officials seized HK $ 20 million ($ 2.6 million) in frozen meat and fruit near Lung Kwu Chau, an offshore island. of northwestern Hong Kong waters.

Suspected smugglers attempted to transport around 240 tonnes of contraband goods to authorities using cargo ships, barges and tugs.

This time, twenty-two men between the ages of 20 and 67 were arrested.

Apparently they had contacts in several international markets. The South China Morning Post reported that the fruit came from Japan and Ecuador, while the meat came from the United States, Britain, Brazil, Chile and India.

Hong Kong’s import and export taxes stand at around 90%, according to the Hong Kong-based newspaper, highlighting the obvious incentive to smuggle goods through customs rather than to announce.

They also reported that Indian beef would not have passed customs in the first place due to a Chinese import ban taken in response to a skin disease that was spreading among Indian cows.

Just last year, Hong Kong customs officials seized 2,500 tonnes of contraband meat destined for mainland China, a figure higher than their total confiscations for the previous 11 years.

Despite this, the smugglers seem to have the upper hand over the authorities. According to the Hong Kong Free Press, the amount of meat they manage to get into China in a single day exceeds the amount seized by customs officials in three months.

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