Customs seize their biggest ever smuggling haul

Customs officers said on Thursday that an anti-smuggling operation in Lung Kwu Tan last month netted the most valuable haul of goods ever found in Hong Kong, with the find including luxury foodstuffs, handbags and endangered plants

Officials said customs and marine police tracked a smuggling gang for two months before about a hundred officers swooped in the early hours of September 24.

They saw a group of people moving goods from a lorry into two speedboats.

A group of about five people sped off into mainland waters when they realised they were being tracked.

Officers later found a warehouse nearby containing everything from luxury watches and bags to shark fin, fruit, plants and almost 5,000 electronic products. Together, the 11,000 items were worth some HK$210 million, customs said.

A 34-year-old male was arrested.

Customs officers said they believe the goods were sourced globally and were destined for the mainland.

Lui Siu-fai, a divisional commander of customs’ ports and maritime command, said the smugglers had deployed a large number of people and vehicles, as well as drones to monitor the surrounding area. They also parked vehicles on roads nearby, hoping to slow down officers’ action, Lui said.

Mark Woo, the head of customs’ syndicate crimes investigation bureau, said he hoped to strengthen cooperation with mainland authorities and use new technology to tackle cross-border smuggling.