Smuggled Fukushima seafood seized in China

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Qingdao customs finds smuggled seafood in a van with a plate number registered in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. [Photo/screen shot from CCTV]

Qingdao customs of east China's Shandong province said Sunday that officers seized a gang that had smuggled more than 5,000 tonnes of sea food worth 230 million yuan (34.7 million USD), with some product said to be from Japan's radiation-affected Fukushima.

During an investigation earlier this year, Qingdao customs noticed the retail prices of some top seafood were obviously lower than normal prices. Then they found fish, scallops and king crabs allegedly imported from Japan, Russia and the US had been transported to Shandong from Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China, making a long detour compared to the usual transport lines.

Using these clues, officers targeted a Shandong-based seafood import and export company that has several branches in China and the US. The company illegally transferred all its income to its overseas accounts and destroyed seafood orders at regular intervals.

At the end of June, the owner of the company, surname Wang, was caught at Shangdong's Penglai International Airport after returning from the US.

The gang was found to have smuggled more than 5,000 tonnes of sea food over the past two years, and some of the goods were from Fukushima and may have been seriously polluted by radiation exposure after the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Officer Li Fudong from Qingdao customs said the company gathered seafood first in Japan's Hokkaido and then transported it to Vietnam. They changed the package and date of production to evade customs declaration and epidemic inspection.

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