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China Deals Heavy Blows to Smugglers
Customs officials throughout China said they have cracked 2,882 smuggling cases and seized goods worth 2.3 billion yuan (US$277 million) in the first three months of this year as part of an intensified national anti-smuggling drive.

Documented smuggling cases between January and March were down 9 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the latest reports released yesterday by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

GAC also caught 775 smuggling suspects.

Smuggling through imports and exports totaled 449 from last January to March, down 26 percent from the same time last year, GAC officials said. Eight- hundred and eighty-three cases of marine smuggling were recorded earlier this year, down 5 percent.

Smuggling along trade routes, a once popular method, has been significantly reduced, with 57 cases reported in the first three months of this year, down 87 percent.

The strict security along these sea and trade routes has prompted smugglers to seek new avenues, authorities said.

But customs officials said they are monitoring the new tactics adopted by smugglers.

Investigators have paid most attention to false reports on the price of goods to be imported or exported now that China has joined the World Trade Organization.

During the first three months of this year, customs inspectors recorded 22 cases of false price reports on goods worth more than 80 million yuan (US$9.6 million) and in which 12.2 million yuan (US$1.4 billion) of customs duties had been evaded.

Customs officials have cracked down on a wide variety of smuggled goods this year.

They looked into 58 cases of smuggling cultural relics from January to March, an increase of 49 percent.

Smuggled rare animals and animal products soared 5.5 times compared with the same period last year.

Customs recorded 24 cases of drug smuggling, up 9.1 percent from January to March 2001.

In addition, cases of smuggling solid wastes climbed 50 percent, with 26 tons of waste seized in the first three months of this year, officials said.

They also cracked a case involving the smuggling of a valuable metal.

(People's Daily May 17, 2002)

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