Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department seized on Saturday 15 cartons of electronics goods, including 138 units of the newly released iPhone 6, that were apparently being smuggled out of the city and into mainland China, Ming Pao Daily News reported.
The goods, estimated to be worth around HK$3 million in total, were being readied to be loaded on a speed boat when law enforcement officers raided the scene at Wong Shek Pier in Sai Kung in a joint operation with the Marine Police, the report said.
According to Benson Lee, head of Customs’ marine enforcement bureau, marine smuggling cases have dropped in recent years. However, the cases surge whenever some new electronic products are rolled out in Hong Kong without a corresponding launch in the mainland, he said.
The Customs believe that smugglers would be trying to profit from Apple’s new smartphones, whose sales began in Hong Kong last Friday.
The haul in Saturday’s raid included 138 iPhone 6 handsets, 1,890 computer hard disks and 8,750 computer memory modules. If successfully smuggled to Huizhou, the amount of applicable Chinese taxes evaded could be the equivalent of around HK$1.5 million.
According to Hong Kong’s import and export ordinance, offenders convicted of smuggling could be handed a fine of up to HK$2 million and seven years’ imprisonment.
Given the huge demand for iPhone 6, some netizens are wondering as to when the confiscated goods will be put up for public auction. Customs officers pointed out that some legal procedures have to be carried out before a court can rule that the confiscated goods can be auctioned.
Seized goods are normally auctioned within 12 months by the government’s Logistics Department.
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