Guangzhou returns seven containers of stolen goods

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 September, 2005, 12:00am

Mainland authorities intercepted pirates in February after they robbed a barge in Hong Kong waters

Mainland authorities yesterday handed over to Hong Kong police $1.8 million worth of goods in seven containers that were stolen from a barge off Tuen Mun in Hong Kong waters in February.

Four Hong Kong men and six mainlanders, arrested in Guangdong are still in mainland custody. Police said they would ask for the local suspects to be handed over to stand trial in Hong Kong.

'But we have to wait until mainland authorities complete their investigation,' a police officer said.

The robbery happened at 9pm on February 19 when the crewman of a barge berthed 200 metres from the Tuen Mun River Trade Terminal was resting in a cabin.

Police said several men boarded the barge, tied up the sailor and left him in a storeroom.

Seven containers of lighting products, linen and tiles were loaded on a mainland cargo vessel that then left Hong Kong waters.

The owner, 34, called police soon after when he returned to the barge. Mainland authorities were alerted to look for the cargo vessel.

Soon after midnight, mainland officers intercepted the vessel off Neilingding Dao and recovered the goods and arrested two mainlanders on board.

In a controlled delivery operation, the vessel shipped the goods to a pier in Panyu, Guangdong, where mainland officers arrested eight more men, including four Hong Kong residents, that day.

Yesterday, regional commander Au Hok-lam of the Marine Police received the goods from Chen Jianwen, deputy director general of the Guangzhou Customs District.

The goods were transferred after a handover ceremony aboard a mainland customs vessel, at the sea boundary off Tuen Mun.

A barge with the seven containers then returned to Hong Kong.