Written by: Chen Leilei, Chen Xiwen, Deng Yongzhong
Last update date: 2020-12-06 12:58
On Friday (4th), Customs found two 40-foot containers at a remote environmental recycling site in Wang Chau, Yuen Long, and seized 8 million cigarettes with a market value of approximately 22 million and a taxable value of approximately 15 million. Four men and a woman aged between 35 and 65 were arrested.
After investigation, it is believed that this batch of cigarettes was smuggled by sea in the form of "retrospect" in order to evade investigation.
According to the customs, 191 million illicit cigarettes have been seized so far this year, a record high in 20 years, and surpassed the total number of illicit cigarettes seized in the past three years. It is believed that due to the reduced flow of smuggling group control points and increased interception risk during the epidemic, smuggling groups have adjusted their mode Smuggling by sea.
Senior Supervisor Li Jinrong (left) of the Tax Crime Investigation Division of Customs and the first group of the Tax Investigation Division of the Tax Crime Investigation Division commanded the official Guan Ting to explain the details of the case this morning.
(Photo by Chen Xiwen)
After customs investigations, it was discovered that one of the containers was smuggled by sea by means of "horse lanterns". The route was circuitous to avoid tracing. After passing through Vietnam’s coastal defense, the container went to Yokohama, Japan, where the container was converted, and then went to Shekou in the Mainland and arrived in Hong Kong via riverboat. It was transported to different remote locations many times and was eventually cracked at the Yuen Long Environmental Recycling Yard.
According to the customs, the environmental recycling site involved in the case of rubber pellet recycling in the morning, and turned into an illicit cigarette logistics center at night, and a batch of red and white wine believed to be used as a cover for cigarettes was seized at the same time.
The source and whereabouts of this batch of illicit cigarettes are still under investigation!
Senior Supervisor of the Customs Tax Crime Investigation Division, Li Jinrong, said that illicit cigarette groups used to smuggle in the form of "ant moving", using passengers, small cars, and large trucks to clear customs to reduce economic losses after being intercepted. However, the traffic at control points decreased during the epidemic. The risk of investigation has increased, and criminals have adjusted their smuggling strategies and switched to smuggling goods by sea to Hong Kong.
He added that the customs will crack down on smuggling activities in all aspects, including upstream, midstream, and downstream, and cooperate with overseas law enforcement agencies, including the World Customs Organization Asia Pacific Contact Center for international cooperation and exchange of intelligence.
This year, the customs has intercepted 2,890 illicit cigarette cases, arrested 2,375 people, and seized 191 million cigarettes. The amount of taxes involved was about 364 million, which was 3.5 times that of last year.
Among them, 18 cases were upstream cigarette smuggling cases. 91 million cigarettes were seized, which was three times the number of last year. In 4 cases, the number of illicit cigarettes exceeded 10 million. In February, 32.6 million cigarettes were seized in Yuen Long and Tuen Mun. , Is the largest upstream interception case in 20 years.
In the midstream, the customs cracked a total of 149 storage and distribution cases and seized 81.5 million cigarettes, six times the number of last year. The largest case was the smashing of 24.8 million cigarettes at the Sheung Shui Iron Sheet House in June this year.
Downstream, as of December this year, there were 288 telephone order cases, 292 people were arrested, 2.45 million cigarettes were seized, 15 storage warehouses related to telephone ordering, and 18 illicit cigarette distribution vehicles were also cracked.
The official commander of the first group of the Tax Investigation Division of the Tax Crime Investigation Division, Guan Ting, added that from September to November this year, the Customs launched Thunder operations and cracked 92 related cases in various housing estates, arrested 95 people, and seized 1.45 million cigarettes, of which were cracked Nine suspected use of public housing units as cigarette storage warehouses, and eight distribution vehicles.
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