Marine police arrested eight mainland sailors and confiscated endangered pangolin meat worth almost HK$1.5 million after intercepting their mainland-bound boat in local waters early today. The arrests were made when officers from the marine police’s west division carried out an anti-smuggling operation off Tuen Mun. At about 1am, a group of people was seen loading boxes of goods from a delivery van and a car onto a cargo vessel from Ho Hoi Street waterfront. READ MORE: China customs vows to turn up heat on illegal meat trade As the vessel was leaving the pier heading towards the mainland, police swooped in and intercepted the boat off Lung Kwu Tan, according to police. “On board the vessel, officers seized 50 boxes of pangolin meat,” a police spokesman said. “The haul had an estimated market value of HK$1.46 million.” Eight mainland men aged between 25 and 37 were arrested on the vessel. According to police, the Customs and Excise Department was following up the case. It was the second case of its kind in five days. On Sunday, police seized electronic components and pangolin scales worth HK$5.3 million in total during an anti-smuggling operation in Sai Kung. READ MORE: Fishing boat caught trying to smuggle thousands of endangered pangolins into China During that operation, two speedboats were spotted off Sai Kung at about 4.30pm on Sunday. When police boats approached, they sped away. During police pursuit, the two speedboats ran aground off Sharp Island and six crew members abandoned the boats and ran ashore. Police mounted a search but no arrests were made. Last year, more than three tonnes of pangolin scales worth HK$17 million were found hidden in two shipping containers that arrived in the city from Africa. The haul discovered by customs officers was believed to have come from more than 8,000 of the endangered scaly anteaters and was bound for the mainland. It was the biggest seizure of its kind in five years in Hong Kong. The scales are thought to be used in Chinese medicine for their curative powers.