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Guangzhou to Take a Tougher Line on Smugglers
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This city in south China is planning to monitor imports by foreign-owned and -invested companies to prevent smuggling, an official said.

"The city has caught many foreign-owned and -invested companies involved in smuggling. The value of the goods involved was not negligible," Li Zhizhen, deputy director of Guangzhou Anti-Smuggling and Comprehensive Treatment Office, said yesterday.

In addition to resorting to traditional methods of smuggling like using fake or deceptive customs declarations and hiding smuggled goods inside commodities some companies have been taking advantage of new trade patterns and lagging anti-smuggling rules, the official said.

"It is likely that smuggling will run rampant in tandem with China's economic globalization," he said. "Standardizing the rules governing such enterprises will become the focus of anti-smuggling work in the city."

Li said the city would also gear up efforts to crack down on smuggling by water and through the ports, while keeping a close eye on wholesale and retail markets across the city.

Refined oil, auto parts, high-tech goods like computer peripherals, photosensitive materials and drugs are among the goods being smuggled into the city, he said.

Guangzhou's proximity to Hong Kong, Macao and several Southeast Asian countries, the convenience of its water routes, its flourishing market and its well-developed logistics system have all combined to make the city a hot bed of smuggling, he said.

Official statistics show that the authorities have cracked over 58,000 smuggling cases since 1981, when the city's anti-smuggling office was set up. Smuggled goods worth 4.5 billion yuan (US$554.87 million) have been confiscated in the past 25 years.

The authorities have cracked 12,600 cases involving goods without legal origin, representing goods worth over 800 million (US$98.64 million), in the 25 years.

Pang Xiaozhong, an associate researcher at the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said anti-smuggling work would remain complicated in Guangzhou because the city has long been a popular transit point for smugglers.

(China Daily December 28, 2006)

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