Hong Kong cigarette smuggle

Photo credit: Hong Kong Customs

The ​Hong Kong Customs have announced that the Authorities on Saturday have detected a large-scale illicit cigarette smuggling case in the waters off Kwai Chung and there by seized about 22 million suspected illicit cigarettes, with an estimated market value of about HK$82 million (about US$ 10.4 million) and a duty potential of about $55 million (about US$ 7 million).

The Hong Kong Customs declares that they intercepted a suspicious cargo vessel in the waters off Kwai Chung on Saturday and upon their boarding and inspection, the Customs officers seized the batch of suspected illicit cigarettes inside two 40-foot containers on board the vessel and in the cabin of the vessel.

The Custom Officials arrested eight non-local men, including a captain and seven crew members, aged between 25 and 60 and suspected to be connected with the case were then arrested onboard the cargo vessel.

The Hong Kong Customs Authorities mentions that an investigation is still ongoing, and that the Hong Kong Customs will continue to trace the source and the flow of the illicit cigarettes with further arrests not ruled out as smuggling is considered as a serious offence.

The Authorities finally reminds that any person found guilty of importing or exporting unmanifested cargo is liable to a maximum fine of HK$2 million and imprisonment for seven years, or that any person found guilty in dealing with, possession of, selling or buying illicit cigarettes also commits an offence and if convicted is then liable of a fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for two years.