SHENZHEN Customs has broken up a crime syndicate that allegedly smuggled luxury goods worth more than 100 million yuan (US$15.8 million), the administration said yesterday.
The syndicate paid cross-border travelers to bring luxury goods such as clothes, shoes, belts and jewelry into Shenzhen from Hong Kong. Travelers carried only a small amount of goods at a time to avoid officials’ attention.
The smuggled goods were packed in Shenzhen and then sent to mainland buyers through delivery services.
Buyers placed their orders either by phone or by visiting Hong Kong, where luxury goods are sold cheaper than on the mainland.
Some buyers of the smuggled goods used franchised stores to help with their own sales on the mainland, forming a selling network that covered nearly all of the mainland’s large and medium-sized cities.
Customs’ anti-smuggling police arrested 13 suspects in Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Tianjin in a June 8 raid, seizing smuggled goods of top brands such as Armani, Cartier and Hermes. The exact quantity of the seized goods had not been tallied as of yesterday evening.
A fever for luxury goods in China has given rise to smuggling. China is the second-biggest consumer of luxury goods in the world and is expected to jump into first place by 2015, according to the administration.
Besides luxury goods, electronic goods, such as iPads and iPhones, which also see a big price difference between Hong Kong and the mainland, are favored by smugglers.
A criminal ring was busted in late May, after allegedly smuggling electronics worth more than 100 million yuan (US$15.8 million).
Customs’ latest effort to crack down on smuggling is part of an ongoing nationwide campaign that started in February. Customs has been calling for joint efforts by related government departments, such as border inspection and commerce authorities, to crack down on smugglers.
Customs puts smugglers on ice
SHENZHEN Customs has recently seized more than 1,800 tons of frozen goods worth about 60 million yuan (US$9.5 million), the administration said yesterday.
The frozen goods, including beef and chicken wings, were stored in 60 containers on a container ship traveling from Hong Kong to Chaozhou in Guangdong Province. Five suspects have been detained.
The goods are from countries including the United States, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, and should be subject to total taxes of about 12 million yuan.
It’s Shenzhen Customs’ highest-value seizure of frozen goods since 1997.
Customs has uncovered 250 attempts to smuggle frozen goods, totaling more than 11,399 tons, since 2006. More than 100 suspects have been detained.