Drivers held as police seize disks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 05 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 05 November, 2009, 12:00am

Police arrested two men and seized HK$4.95 million worth of computer hard disks after finding smugglers brazenly at work little more than half a kilometre from a marine police base.

But six other smugglers in two speedboats slipped through their fingers after outrunning a police launch in a sea chase.

The smugglers were caught loading the computer parts from a van onto the speedboats at Chui Tong Road on the Sai Kung coast, just 600 metres from the marine police east division headquarters.

The raid came after about 20 officers had lain in wait at a remote, undisclosed site in Sai Kung since 8pm on Tuesday.

Two trucks arrived at the site at about 1am yesterday, followed about 3?hours later by two delivery vans, one of which was loaded with goods from the trucks.

Police followed the laden van to Chui Tong Road, where six men began unloading boxes from the van and sending them down a wooden chute into the speedboats, each with two men on board.

As officers moved in, the six men abandoned the van and goods, and boarded the speedboats, which sped off into mainland waters despite efforts to catch them.

Police seized 87 boxes of disks from the van. They also arrested the two truck drivers at the undisclosed location and seized a further 340 boxes of disks from their vehicles.

Marine police Senior Inspector Winsy Ng Wing-see said she believed the consignment was intended for Nanao on the Guangdong coast. She said it was the second time in a year that the Chui Tong Road waterfront had been used as a loading dock by smugglers.

Intelligence reports showed trucks were being used as mobile storage centres.

'They are always moving their loading points and changing methods and times of delivery to avoid our detection,' she said. 'They also reconnoitre their loading points and post lookouts on land and at sea.'

She said police had stepped up enforcement actions to combat such illegal activities.

Including the latest seizure, marine police have seized HK$150 million worth of smuggled goods in 38 anti-smuggling operations in the past 12 months. The goods include furs, computer hard disks, mobile-phone components and other high-value goods.