An illegal shipment of high-end fruit and frozen meat worth about HK$20 million (€2.2 mln) bound for mainland China has been seized by Hong Kong’s customs authorities. According to officials from the Customs and Excise Department, they arrested 22 people in connection with the smuggling in a Thursday night operation. The department said one cargo vessel and three tugboats had also been detained.
The smugglers were caught off Lung Kwu Chau, northwest of Hong Kong. Officers said they had been using a barge as a “mobile warehouse”, transferring the cargo onto smaller vessels to be shipped to China.
The four tonnes of fruit seized included grapes, honeydew, passion fruit, apples and yellow pitaya from Japan and Ecuador. If the fruit could be smuggled to the mainland market successfully, the smugglers could evade as much as HK$500,000 in tax.