HK$21m worth of fake goods seized by air cargo customs

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 October, 2008, 12:00am

Customs officers at the Chek Lap Kok airport cargo terminal have confiscated HK$21 million worth of counterfeit goods destined for the Middle East and other regions so far this year.

The amount was more than three times the value of goods seized at the terminal in the whole of last year, said Alex Fung Chi-ho, head of customs' air cargo export division.

The shipments were bound for countries in Africa, Asia and North America.

The fakes included mobile phones, clothing and accessories.

There were 28 cases involving HK$6.5 million of goods in the whole of last year, and 34 cases worth HK$7.4 million in 2006.

Customs has also noted an increasing amount of counterfeit goods destined for Middle Eastern countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Customs officers at the airport have intercepted seven shipments destined for the Middle East this year. There were four cases in each of the past two years.

Figures showed an average of HK$567,000 worth of counterfeit products hidden in each illegal air shipment this year, compared with an average of HK$232,000 last year. The latest seizure, found at the air cargo terminal on September 16, involved HK$3.6 million worth of counterfeit goods, including watches and mobile phones, bound for Dubai. The consignment of 28 boxes was the largest haul of counterfeit goods ever found at the cargo terminal.

Officers were investigating whether the goods came from the mainland.

Mr Fung said investigation showed smugglers now tended to ship larger consignments of fake goods to the Middle East because of growing demand.

He said the use of air cargo to smuggle goods was an expensive but quick way to deliver fakes, especially the latest mobile phones and memory sticks, to overseas buyers.

To crack down, customs officers will step up inspection at the cargo terminal with the help of X-ray scanners.

'Based on our risk-assessment system, frontline officers will conduct more checks on cargoes with suspicious backgrounds,' Mr Fung said.

He said customs would also enhance intelligence collection with overseas authorities.

Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, anyone convicted of importing or exporting counterfeit goods faces up to five years in jail and a HK$500,000 fine.

Faking it

The average value of each illegal shipment of products seized this year, in HK dollars: 567,000