Hong Kong police launch manhunt for two smugglers who escaped on foot after high-speed boat chase

Suspects abandoned speedboat at Lantau Island beach with HK$5 million worth of fur and bird’s nest on board

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 July, 2016, 2:55pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 July, 2016, 10:55pm

Police were scouring Lantau Island in the early hours of Thursday while a helicopter searched from the skies, for two alleged smugglers whose speedboat ran aground on a beach after a high-speed sea chase.

As of Thursday evening the two men – believed to be from the mainland – were still on the run, police said.

But marine police confiscated about HK$5 million worth of smuggled goods from their abandoned boat, including 83 boxes of fur and six boxes of bird’s nest, an expensive Chinese delicacy.

At about 10pm on Wednesday, while conducting an operation against illegal immigrants, marine police officers spotted an unlit nine-metre speedboat with one outboard engine off Tung Wan, Cheung Chau. There were two men aboard.

Officers in a speedboat chased after it. “As they ignored repeated signals to stop, officers fired two rounds of flares for illumination during the high-speed pursuit,” the source said.

The speedboat ran in a zigzag travelling as fast as 74km/h as the police craft came within a distance of 100 metres.
A source with knowledge of the case

“We believe [the pair were] meant to offload boxes of goods onto a fishing boat which usually waited in Chinese waters outside the southern sea boundary of Hong Kong,” one source said.

The speedboat probably departed from Cheung Chau, sources with knowledge of the case said.

Marine police were investigating, and it was understood the cargo’s final intended destination was the mainland.

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In the first six months of this year, marine police intercepted 16 mainland-bound speedboats in Hong Kong waters and confiscated HK$14 million in smuggled goods. There were 12 such cases in the second half of last year.

Another source said there had been a resurgence in cargo smuggling this year, and police would continue to enhance patrols and mount intelligence-led operations to fight against such illegal activities.