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Crime in Hong Kong

Hong Kong authorities seize 8,500 mobile phones worth HK$8 million after high-speed boat chase

Police and customs officers pursue four smugglers, who escape on foot after running speedboat aground at Lau Fau Shan

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 3:47pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 10:20pm

Local authorities seized HK$8 million worth of mobile phones in a joint anti-smuggling operation on Tuesday night, following a high-speed sea chase to stop a mainland-bound speedboat from leaving Hong Kong waters near the sea boundary.

After a six-minute pursuit, the speedboat, loaded with 40 boxes of goods, ran aground at the Lau Fau Shan shore. Four smugglers abandoned the vessel and escaped on land, police said.

The operation began on Tuesday night with police and customs officers lying in wait at a fish market in Lau Fau Shan off Deep Bay Road after receiving intelligence.

At about 10.30pm, several men were seen loading boxes of goods on a 10-metre-long speedboat berthed at a jetty outside the market. The site was about 1.8km away from the sea boundary with mainland China.

As officers moved in, the gang jumped into the speedboat and fled towards the mainland.

High-speed chase in Hong Kong waters sees smugglers leap from boats, swim ashore and escape

“During the chase in Deep Bay, our high-speed pursuit craft stopped the speedboat leaving Hong Kong waters,” chief inspector Chow Shun-wai of the Marine Police small boat division said.

He said the speedboat was forced to head back to Lau Fau Shan, where the vessel went out of control and ran aground. Four smugglers abandoned the boat and fled on land. Officers combed the area, but no arrests were made.

Officers seized 40 boxes of goods, including new and used mobile phones, from the speedboat

Chan Tsan-yip from the Customs marine enforcement group said a total of 8,500 mobile phones were seized in the operation, and the haul was worth about HK$8 million.

He said officers from the Customs and Excise Department were following up on the case.

In Hong Kong, exporting and importing unmanifested goods carries a maximum penalty of a seven-year imprisonment and a HK$2 million fine, he said.