Customs blow dealt to smugglers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 August, 2003, 12:00am

Officials claimed a victory against smugglers, saying that customs had handled 55,755 cases from 1998 to last year involving goods worth about 43 billion yuan (HK$40.5 billion), China News Service reported yesterday.

Other law enforcement departments had dealt with 41,000 smuggling cases involving a total value of eight billion yuan since a nationwide anti-smuggling campaign was launched in July 1998, it said.

The announcement came after Guangdong authorities said they cracked a syndicate that had smuggled 540,000 tonnes of diesel oil worth 1.4 billion yuan - the biggest case of its kind on the mainland. More than 150 members of the syndicate have been arrested for smuggling diesel from Hong Kong to the rest of the Pearl River Delta.

China has witnessed an average annual growth of 17.7 per cent in imports and exports since 1998, with more than 1 trillion yuan worth of customs tariffs going into the state coffers.

An anti-smuggling police force has detained 14,955 suspects since it was founded in 1999, with 7,791 of them transferred to judicial departments.