The Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department said on Monday they had smashed a syndicate in Sheung Shui that allegedly hired people to smuggle infant milk formula to the mainland.
In the operation, officers arrested two people, suspected to be the heads of the syndicate, and seized 4,050kg of milk formula, worth approximately HK$1.1 million, stored in a Sheung Shui industrial building unit.
Five other people allegedly paid by the syndicate were arrested at the Lowu border checkpoint while carrying more milk formula to the mainland than allowed under a new restriction.
Chan Tsz-tat, divisional commander of customs' syndicate crimes investigation bureau, said the smugglers paid multiple visits to the mainland per day and on each journey carried a small amount of milk formula to the mainland.
But taken together, the total amount they carried per day exceeded 1.8kg under the new rule introduced on March 1.
Last Saturday, customs for the first time found smugglers using a van as a mobile supply centre to distribute milk powder to parallel-goods traders. They arrested 10 people and seized 99kg of milk powder, estimated to be worth HK$27,500.