Hong Kong and Chinese Mainland customs announced Tuesday they have shut down a cross-boundary smuggling syndicate in a joint operation, arresting four men and three women.
Hong Kong Customs seized more than 33 million HK dollars (US$4.23 million) worth of goods, including 9,300 mobile phones, 5,700 kg of American ginseng, 15,730 micro LCDs, two international mobile equipment identity-decoding machines, a light goods vehicle and several computers from the syndicate's storage center in Fanling on May 6.
Three men and three women aged 36 to 58 were arrested, including a 58-year-old woman suspected to be the syndicate's core member. They have been released on bail.
Mainland Customs officers arrested a 37-year-old man, suspected to be the syndicate's mastermind in Shenzhen, and seized 1,471 mobile phones and a batch of equipment used for smuggling.
Investigations showed the syndicate tried to cheat on export-tax refunds by exporting mobile phones out of the Mainland and smuggling them back through the frontier closed area on the Hong Kong side.
Hong Kong Customs & Excise Commissioner Timothy Tong said the operation, conducted with the General Administration of Customs' and Shenzhen Customs' anti-smuggling bureau, marked the success of the crackdown on syndicated cross-boundary smuggling activities through intelligence exchange and co-operation.
A Pan-Pearl River Delta Customs trade-facilitation forum and regional Customs Commissioners joint conference will be held in Hong Kong on Thursday and Friday. It will strengthen the mode of cross-regional, multi-dimensional law enforcement and the customs clearance network in the region.
(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2007)