Hong Kong customs seizes HK$5 million in smuggled gold as cases double from last year
Officers have seized about 240kg of gold being smuggled in and out of the city so far this year with a total estimated value of HK$74 million
Hong Kong customs has intercepted twice as much smuggled gold this year compared with the whole of last year.
From January to September, officers foiled 21 smuggling cases and seized about 240kg of gold with a total estimated value of HK$74 million.
Last year about 120kg of gold was seized in six separate cases, totalling an estimated HK$38 million.
Hong Kong customs officers detect rising trend of gold and silver bars being smuggled from mainland China
There were no reports of such incidents in 2015.
On Monday night, a man, 55, was arrested by customs after he was found to have brought 15 bars of undeclared gold worth about HK$5 million across the border checkpoint at Lok Ma Chau.
Officers found the 15kg haul in the man’s car during an inspection.
An investigation is under way.
On Tuesday the department said it would monitor any emerging trends, as well as strengthen intelligence and risk assessment, to ensure effective enforcement against all kinds of smuggling activities.
In August last year, HK$11 million worth of precious metal bars comprising mostly silver with some gold were found in a secret compartment near the front wheel mud flap of a Hong Kong-bound limousine at the Shenzhen Bay border crossing.
In June last year, five Hongkongers were among 12 arrested at the same checkpoint. They were detained while entering Hong Kong from mainland China, suspected to have smuggled 76kg of gold bars worth HK$24 million, in the largest case of its kind in recent years.
The surge in such cases began last year. Customs officers said they believed it could be related to mainland Chinese traders looking to profit from higher prices of precious metals in the city, amid tightened regulations and hefty taxes across the border.
The import and export of such goods from mainland China is severely restricted, and permits are not easy to obtain.