Police seize electronic goods worth HK$3.4m

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 January, 2009, 12:00am

An overnight anti-smuggling operation dealt a 'severe blow' to gangs using speedboats to smuggle high-value goods to the mainland, police say.

Gangs were caught loading two vanloads of computer hard disks and other electronic devices valued at HK$3.45 million onto speedboats on Lantau and in Sai Kung. Most of the suspects abandoned their haul and fled, but one man was arrested.

The operation involved police and customs officers and the Government Flying Service.

At 1am yesterday, officers found 10 suspects moving computer hard disks worth HK$1.65 million from a van onto four speedboats at Che Kung Tuk in Hebe Haven. The suspects abandoned the van and sped off aboard the boats. Police gave chase until the boats crossed into mainland waters.

At around the same time, officers came across another gang moving hard disks, mobile phones and other computer equipment worth HK$1.8 million from a van to waiting speedboats at To Kau Wan, near the northeastern tip of Lantau.

One of the suspects was arrested, another fled into the hills on foot and the other eight leapt into the boats and made their getaway.

'Law enforcement officials are still investigating whether the two cases are related,' said Samson Chiu Yuk-hung, head of marine enforcement at the Customs and Excise Department.

Police Superintendent John Cameron said the operation had dealt smugglers a severe blow. If the gangs had succeeded in smuggling the goods to the mainland they would have dodged HK$600,000 in excise duties, he said.

Mr Cameron stressed the need to maintain the pressure on smuggling gangs. 'The advantage is with the smugglers because they can pick and choose where to load and unload speedboats,' he said.

Speedboats have become the main mode of transport for smugglers, and are usually modified to be able to reach higher than usual speeds.




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