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Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

Customs seizes 68 million illicit cigarettes in the past three weeks

Customs seizes 68 million illicit cigarettes in the past three weeks

Customs have busted 119 smuggling cases over the past three weeks and seized over 68 million illicit cigarettes valued at HK$250 million, with a HK$170 million tax duty.
Between late February and early March, customs seized 62 million illicit cigarettes found in various barges and containers in Yau Ma Tei and Tsing Yi and arrested seven people over three large-scale smuggling cases.

Customs pointed out that criminals had attempted to reschedule their deliveries to Sundays in a bid to bypass officers’ patrol but failed in the end.

Customs also discovered that 30 percent of the illicit cigarettes were not from local brands and expected smugglers would repackage them in Hong Kong and sell them overseas to generate revenue through the price differences.

Separately, customs seized 6.6 million illicit cigarettes and arrested 78 people as officers raided seven warehouses used for storage and four delivery vehicles.

They also discovered that smugglers have been using vacant shop units, public housing units, partition flats, and industrial building units in urban areas to store illicit cigarettes; instead of remote village houses and tin houses as in the past.

Smugglers kept changing their distribution hours as well, ranging from five in the morning to midnight, in hopes of confusing and misdirecting officers.

Customs noted that they have yet to see any sudden changes in smuggling activities for illicit cigarettes after the increase in the tobacco duty but added they will continue to monitor and combat the situation.
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