Seafood smugglers nabbed at Lantau

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 January, 2010, 12:00am

A 3.5-tonne haul of chilled and live seafood from Australia, Canada and the United States was seized by customs and police officers in a joint anti-smuggling operation on Lantau early yesterday.

The night before, the smugglers evaded police in a high-speed boat chase, and headed towards the mainland with another seafood haul.

The 195 boxes of lobsters, abalone, oysters and geoduck seized yesterday, estimated to have a market value of HK$1.44 million, were bound for dinner tables in Shekou in Guangdong province, according to Chiu Yuk-hung, head of customs' marine enforcement group.

Officers also arrested six Hong Kong men aged between 17 and 51 and impounded a fishing boat and two trucks in the operation.

Chiu said the syndicate could have made a profit of HK$500,000 if the consignment had been successfully smuggled into the mainland.

On Wednesday the smugglers had picked up seafood at the airport's cargo terminal, then transported the goods to a Tung Chung pier, where the boxes were loaded onto a fishing boat.

The boat left the pier steering west of Lantau Island, where the goods were loaded onto the speedboats.

At about 12.20am on Thursday, men was seen loading boxes of goods onto the same fishing boat. Officers moved in, arrested the group and seized the seafood.