While most Hongkongers took shelter indoors as Tropical Storm Merbok raged, a group of smugglers braved the bad weather in a bid to smuggle electronic products into the mainland by sea on Monday night. Their attempt was foiled by marine police, who confiscated more than HK$1.4 million worth of electronic products including smartphones and tablets, and impounded a car worth about HK$50,000 at the Sha Tau Kok pier. Five suspected smugglers managed to escape. “We believe the gang took advantage of the typhoon warning to smuggle the goods because they thought no law enforcers were on patrol on both sides of the sea boundary during the No 8 typhoon signal,” a police source said. Hong Kong smugglers flee on speedboat, abandoning HK$600,000 worth of cough syrup He added that past experience with such illegal activities led police to enhance patrols at smuggling black spots across the city during the typhoon warning. At about 11pm on Monday, with the No 8 signal still in force, a car pulled over at the Shun Lung Street waterfront in Sha Tau Kok before a speedboat, with a single man on board, berthed at a nearby pier. Three men then got out of the vehicle and began loading boxes of goods on the boat, according to police. As officers moved in, the trio jumped in the boat, which took off towards the mainland. The source said the journey from the pier to the mainland would have taken about five minutes. 10 protected tortoises, bags of animal fur found on boat after high-speed sea chase near Hong Kong’s Lantau Island Another male suspect – the driver of the car – abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. Officers mounted a search in the area, but no arrest was made. On shore, police seized 13 boxes of electronic products including new tablet computers and new and used mobile phones. Police said the haul had an estimated market value of HK$1.42 million. The Customs and Excise Department will follow up on the case. Members of the public may report any suspected smuggling activities to the 24-hour Customs hotline at 2545 6182.