Hong Kong customs has uncovered HK$85 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in the largest seizure of its kind in two decades, after authorities acted on intelligence indicating a syndicate was shipping the haul into the city in four containers.
Some 31 million cigarettes were stashed in the containers from Yokohama in Japan. They were then shipped through different ports in South Korea, Vietnam and mainland China, according to Lee Hoi-man, deputy head of the Revenue and General Investigation Bureau under customs.
He said the circuitous route was used by smugglers to avoid detection.
“The containers were shipped into three to four different ports before they came to Hong Kong,” Lee said adding that the contents listed on import documents were changed to throw off law enforcement in various jurisdictions.
Four men – one mainlander and three Hongkongers – aged between 24 and 41 were arrested in the operation on Monday. They were still being held for questioning on Tuesday evening.
Information on the containers was shared to a global database operated jointly by customs from different countries, under an anti-smuggling campaign code-named “Project Crocodile”.
Get the latest on Collaboration to Fight Dangerous, Illicit & Counterfeit Goods at The 4th GTDW China Anti Illciit Trade, Brand & IPR Protection Conference & Exhibition, 16-18 June 2020, Shanghai Pudong | 4th 反非法贸易，品牌和知识产权保护会议 | 全球贸易发展周-中国论坛 | 2020年6月16日至18
#gtdwchina #illicit #fake #counterfeit #authentication #traceability #trackandtrace #HKCustoms #hongkong #china #vietnam #projectcrocodile #asia #illicittrade #illicittobacco #tobacco #fightthefakes #stopillegal #lawenforcement #trafficking #smuggling #taxstamps #taxrevenue #customs #crime #enforcement