Following October and November of last year, after China implemented new lobster quarantine regulations on Australian lobsters, and Australia stopped exporting lobsters to China, suspected unscrupulous groups found it profitable, so they bypassed Hong Kong and smuggled Australian lobsters. Ship to China.
The Hong Kong Customs and the Anti-smuggling Bureau of the General Administration of Customs, Guangdong Maritime Police, Shenzhen Customs Anti-smuggling Bureau and Gongbei Customs Anti-smuggling Bureau launched a joint anti-smuggling operation code-named "JL" from July to September this year to crack down on cross-border smuggling of lobsters.
The operation detected 3 cases of lobster smuggling at sea, arrested 13 suspected persons involved, and seized a total of about 5,300 kg of suspected smuggled lobster from Australia, with an estimated market value of approximately HK$4.2 million.
Customs also raided a number of importers in Hong Kong who were suspected of deliberately falsely reporting or under-reporting Australian lobster imports, and arrested 7 suspected masterminds. The undeclared Australian lobster had a market value of approximately HK$180 million.
Local lobster imports surge after "new quarantine regulations" Customs says it's unusual
According to the customs, the import volume of local lobsters has increased significantly after the new lobster quarantine regulations, from 120 metric tons to 260 metric tons.
The customs found that the figures are unusual, and there is suspected false or under-reporting behavior.
Huang Yalun, commander of the Marine Assault and Strategic Planning Group of the Port and Maritime Division, pointed out that in order to effectively stop the source of lobster smuggling, the Hong Kong Customs raided a number of importers in Hong Kong suspected of deliberately falsely reporting or under-reporting Australian lobster imports on October 12. After searching 10 local importers, 7 suspected masterminds were arrested. The undeclared Australian lobster weighed 228 tons and had a market value of approximately HK$180 million.
Li Yanping, Supervisor of the Special Investigation Division of the Organized Crime Investigation Division of the Customs, explained the operation mode of the smuggling syndicate. The smuggling syndicate would first airlift the lobster to Hong Kong for storage in Australia, and when the time is right, it would smuggle the lobster to the shore, such as Changsha Bay or At the Tai O Wharf, they were smuggled to the mainland by fishing boats and speedboats at high speed, including airports or aquatic products markets in Shenzhen or Guangzhou, and then distributed by air or land to buyers everywhere.
Supervised by Li Yanping, Special Investigation Division, Organized Crime Investigation Division, Customs.
(Photo by Cai Zhengbang)
A smuggling group was hit hard and changed its smuggling strategy
Huang Zhenfu, the commander of the Special Investigation Team of the Organized Crime Investigation Bureau, described that two smuggling syndicates adopted completely different routes and methods.
One of the smuggling groups will use fishing boats to set off in Cheung Sha Wan. They will first place the lobsters at the Cheung Sha Wan wharf, pretending to be sold locally, and then wait until late at night to put the lobsters on the fishing boats and smuggle them to the mainland.
They passed through the southern part of Lantau Island, and then transferred the lobster to another fishing boat in the waters off the boundary between Guangdong and Hong Kong. At that time, they were intercepted by the Guangdong Maritime Police and seized Australian lobster with a market value of HK$1.7 million on board.
After the group was hit hard, it changed its strategy and used speedboats to sail to the west of Hong Kong to smuggle to the mainland.
Huang Zhenfu pointed out that another smuggling group was more "cunning". They smuggled at the geographical advantage of Tai O, which is relatively remote and close to the boundary between Guangdong and Hong Kong. They used high-speed boats. The customs finally intercepted the group in September and found a market value of 1.1 million on board. Hong Kong dollar Australian lobster.
The operation detected 3 cases of lobster smuggling at sea, arrested 13 suspected persons involved, and seized a total of approximately 5,300 kilograms of suspected smuggled lobster from Australia, with an estimated market value of approximately HK$4.2 million.
Lobster price difference between China and Hong Kong is 1,200 yuan per kilogram
Li Yanping mentioned that after the implementation of the new lobster quarantine regulations and Australia stopped exporting lobsters to China, the Chinese market has a large demand for Australian lobsters. Compared with Hong Kong’s Australian lobsters, the market price was as high as 800 Hong Kong dollars per kilogram. 2,000 Hong Kong dollars, there is also value-added tax.
There are smugglers who do not hesitate to take risks to make the difference.
She pointed out that the smuggled Australian lobsters were not properly refrigerated and did not pass the quarantine. The sanitary situation is worrying. The consumption of smuggled Australian lobsters poses health risks.