Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Friday, Mar 01, 2024

Hong Kong customs seizes HK$200 million in contraband cigarettes post-budget

Hong Kong customs seizes HK$200 million in contraband cigarettes post-budget

57 million cigarettes, which would have raised HK$143 million in revenue, impounded since budget day on February 22

More than HK$200 million (US$25.4 million) worth of black market cigarettes have been seized in a crackdown on the illegal trade since a 31 per cent tobacco tax rise came into effect in last month’s budget, Hong Kong customs officials have revealed.

More than 57 million illicit cigarettes with an estimated street value of HK$202 million were seized between budget day on February 22 and Tuesday in Operation Tempest.

Senior Inspector Adam Lam Wai-kit, of customs’ revenue crimes investigation bureau, on Wednesday said 54 arrests were made in 77 cases and promised the service would continue to tackle tobacco smuggling.

Lam highlighted that if the cigarettes had been legally imported, they would have generated HK$143 million in tax revenue.

Lam Ming-hong (left), a senior inspector in customs’ marine strike and strategic planning division, and Adam Lam with some of the black market cigarettes seized in Operation Tempest.


Customs officers seized 24 million black market cigarettes – equivalent to 1.2 million packs of 20 – at two sites in Yau Ma Tei and Tsing Yi on Friday last week in a single sting.

Lam said the cigarettes seized from three containers had an estimated street value of HK$89 million.

Two of the containers were unloaded from a barge at the Yau Ma Tei cargo handling area last Friday. The third container was left on the barge.

A truck driver picked up one of the containers. The vehicle was later intercepted in Tsing Yi and its 30-year-old driver arrested.

Customs officers moved in and arrested a 62-year-old truck driver when he arrived to pick up the other container on the quayside.

They also seized the container on the barge, but no one was arrested on board.

The two drivers were detained on suspicion of dealing in illicit cigarettes – an offence punishable by up to two years in prison and a HK$1 million fine.

The two were later released on bail and the investigation continues.

Lam said inquiries so far suggested part of the cargo was earmarked for city consumption with the rest destined for overseas.

He added the team was still investigating the source of the contraband.

Lam warned the operation, designed to tackle the illegal cigarette trade from import, storage and distribution down to street sales level, was still under way.

The 31 per cent budget tax increase pushed the average cost of 20 cigarettes to more than HK$70 – HK$12 a pack extra.

The price of cigarettes on the black market also increased by up to HK$5 a pack to between HK$18 and HK$30 for 20, a source familiar with the trade said.

Customs confiscated 732 million black market cigarettes worth HK$2.01 billion last year – the biggest annual haul since records began two decades ago.

Officers seized 427 million contraband cigarettes worth HK$1.17 billion in 2021 and 205 million tobacco products worth HK$563 million the year before.

The biggest single seizure of black market cigarettes was in July last year when customs officers took HK$222 million worth out of circulation.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×