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Crime in Hong Kong

More than 580 people arrested, HK$53 million in illicit goods seized by Hong Kong customs over Lunar New Year

The confiscated items ranged from counterfeit products to drugs and wildlife parts from endangered species

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 7:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 7:10am

More than 580 people were arrested and HK$53 million (US$6.8 million) worth of illicit goods seized by Hong Kong customs at various border checkpoints around the city in the period before and during the Lunar New Year holiday.

In a 19-day crackdown that ended on Monday, customs officers arrested 582 people in 655 cases at entry points such as the airport, railway stations and ferry terminals.

Counterfeit goods such as handbags and wallets accounted for about HK$33 million in items seized.

Ninety-eight cases foiled involved wildlife goods suspected to be from endangered species. These included rare wood, orchids, ivory products and shark fins. The total haul of this nature amounted to about HK$6.4 million.

More than 100kg of illegal meat and poultry were also seized along with 1,300 poultry eggs. The cases were handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department and the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department for follow-ups.

On the anti-narcotics front, 10 people were detained in 45 cases. Officers seized 105kg of illegal drugs estimated to be worth HK$4.6 million. Most of the items were synthetic drugs, including cathinones – also known as bath salts – crystal meth and cannabis buds, which were discovered mainly from inbound air parcels and on airline passengers, according to customs.

Hong Kong customs officers seize HK$105 million worth of precious metals from smugglers at the border so far this year

A spokesman said other smuggled items uncovered included mobile phone accessories and cosmetic products worth about HK$6.2 million.

Some 840,000 suspected contraband cigarettes were also seized, along with 81 litres of dutiable liquor worth an estimated HK$2.3 million.

“Hong Kong customs has all along adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards cross-border smuggling activities,” the spokesman said.

“Apart from strengthening deployment and tougher enforcement actions during the festive holidays, officers will be equally vigilant in combating smuggling through risk assessment and intelligence analysis in their routine operations.”