Electric car with secret compartment used to smuggle phones and smartwatches
from Hong Kong to Shenzhen
16 May, 2018  Clifford Lo

One-third of the battery case at the bottom of the vehicle had been
converted into a secret compartment. Photo: Handout

Customs officers arrest five men and seize HK$8 million in electronics

Crime in Hong Kong ...

A cross-border smuggling ring that used an electric car to transport goods
from Hong Kong to Shenzhen to evade a hefty mainland tax was broken
following the arrest of five men and the seizure of HK$8 million (US$1
million) worth of electronics.

Most of the haul, including mobile phones, smartwatches and computer hard
disks, was found in a hidden compartment in the battery case of the mainland
brand BYD electric car when the vehicle was intercepted by customs officers
for inspection at the Shenzhen Bay control point on Tuesday. 

The driver was arrested.

In a follow-up operation, another four men, including the suspected
ringleader, were picked up during a raid on a flat in Yuen Long.

Hong Kong and Shenzhen authorities smash HK$620 million iPhone smuggling

“It is the first time an electric vehicle was found to have been used in
smuggling goods across the border,” Assistant Superintendent Alan Lau
Yau-lun of Customs’ syndicate crimes investigation bureau said.

He said about one-third of the battery case at the bottom of the vehicle had
been converted into a secret compartment to hide the goods.

The Post understands that the syndicate had been in operation for less than
a month.

Initial investigations showed the group used the Yuen Long flat as its
storage facility before transporting the smuggled goods into a cargo yard in
the same district and loading them into the electric car.

Customs officers began investigating the syndicate about two weeks ago.
After identifying the core members of the group and locating its storage
centre and loading bay, customs officers intercepted the Shenzhen-bound
electric car at the control centre at about noon on Tuesday and raided the
flat and cargo yard three hours later ...

A total of 1,576 mobile phones, 228 smartwatches and 45 hard disks were
seized. The haul was worth about HK$8 million but could be sold for HK$9.4
million on the mainland after taking the tax into account.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the five Hongkongers, aged between 26 and 48,
were being held for questioning. None of them had been charged.

In Hong Kong, importing and exporting unmanifested cargo carries a maximum
penalty of a seven-year jail term and a HK$2 million fine.

Suspected smuggling activities can be reported to Customs’ 24-hour hotline
at 2545 6182.
[© 2018 South China Morning Post]

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