Customs seize HK$5m worth of frozen meat, HK$12.9m worth of protected wood
Customs said on Friday they had seized 32 tonnes of frozen meat worth HK$5 million in an anti-smuggling operation in the south-western waters of Hong Kong, and another HK$12.9 million worth of protected red sandalwood at the airport.
The operation on the night of December 29 saw a cargo vessel seized, along with four men aged between 38 and 68 suspected to be connected to the meat smuggling case arrested.
Customs officers said they have spotted a suspicious cargo vessel in the waters off Peaked Hill to the southwest of Lantau Island that night, with officers subsequently took action and intercepted it.
The batch of suspected smuggled frozen meat was seized on board the vessel.
A Customs spokesman said the investigation is ongoing and it will keep up its enforcement action and will continue to fiercely combat sea smuggling activities by proactive risk-management and intelligence-based enforcement strategies.
Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting unmanifested cargo is liable to a maximum fine of HK$2 million and imprisonment for seven years.
Separately, about 2,570 kilograms of suspected scheduled red sandalwood, with an estimated market value of about HK$12.9 million, were seized at Hong Kong International Airport.
A Customs spokesman said through risk assessment, officers on Thursday inspected an air consignment, declared to be carrying furniture raw materials, arriving in Hong Kong from Dubai.
Upon inspection, Customs officers found the batch of suspected scheduled red sandalwood inside two large wooden boxes.
Customs said the case was handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for follow-up investigation.
Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting an endangered species without a license is liable to a maximum fine of HK$10 million and imprisonment for 10 years.