Hong Kong customs officers have confiscated more than HK$10 million (US$1.2 million) worth of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products at three of the city’s control points after a ban on alternative smoking items came into effect in April. Assistant Superintendent Lie Yan-ning of customs’ air cargo search unit said on Tuesday that most of the illicit cigarettes were found hidden in nine parcels at the cargo terminal of Hong Kong International Airport and one consignment at Shenzhen Bay control point. “In the 10 cases, there were 350,000 e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn cigarettes. It has an estimated street value of HK$10 million,” he said. An initial investigation suggested different syndicates were behind the shipments of the illegal smoking products, he said. The nine parcels were airmailed into the city from various countries including Japan and the United Arab Emirates. At the Shenzhen Bay control point, customs officers arrested a truck driver after seizing illegal smoking products from his vehicle which arrived from mainland China. A law enforcement source said the contraband was intended for the local market and they were still investigating its origins. The 10 cases were detected in the first two weeks after the new ban under the Smoking (Public Health) (Amendment) Ordinance went into force at the end of April. From April 30, no person may import, promote, manufacture, sell, or possess for commercial purposes alternative smoking products, including electronic smoking products and heated tobacco products. Offenders are subject to a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a HK$50,000 fine. Hong Kong’s e-cigarettes ban by Carrie Lam makes its mark At the airport and two land control points, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and Shenzhen Bay, customs officers also found another 7,000 e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, worth about HK$40,000 in total, during the same period. Lie said the illegal smoking products were handed over to customs officers by 36 travellers who made a declaration to customs while entering the city at the three control points. He said the tobacco products the travellers surrendered were for their own use and no smuggling element was involved. No arrests were made in the 36 cases. Hong Kong customs arrests truck driver, seizes HK$74 million in cigarettes Before the ban came into effect, customs officers arrested 11 people and confiscated HK$15 million worth of those products in a month-long operation. The assistant superintendent said they would keep monitoring the situation and work with the Department of Health to stop the import of illegal smoking products. In the first four months of this year, customs officers confiscated 2.7 million heat-not-burn cigarettes. They seized 8.7 million heated tobacco products in 2021.