Smuggling rewards increased

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 March, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 March, 1993, 12:00am

THE increasing sophistication of cross-border smuggling rackets has sparked hefty new incentives to entice people close to any illicit trade into tipping-off the Customs Department.

Rewards for informants announced yesterday mark the first such increases for 10 years, with one package rising more than threefold.

A Customs spokesman said reviews, prompted by the rise in cigarette smuggling, revealed the need to use more cash to get people to provide information, with existing rewards proving simply ''unattractive''.

''This is Hongkong, after all,'' the spokesman said.

''People are only going to move if you make it worth their while.'' Informants will be paid $30 for every 1,000 cigarettes seized once the smuggler has been successfully prosecuted, compared to $6.60 previously.

Customs officers seized more than 43 million cigarettes last year - 24 million up on the 1991 figure.

Further rises are expected this year as smugglers continue to profit from the 100 per cent rise in tobacco taxes two years ago.

Diesel oil rewards will rise from 50 cents per litre seized, also after prosecution, to $1.50.

And informants providing information crucial to investigations against smugglers trying to land alcohol will now earn up to $30 for every litre seized.