A syndicate smuggling edible bird’s net from Hong Kong and Macau into the mainland was believed to have been busted with the arrest of 14 suspected members in Guangdong province.
Among the suspects was a Hong Kong man surnamed Lo, said to be the head of the smuggling ring, Apple Daily reported on Friday.
Authorities also confiscated more than 700 kilograms of bird’s nest, which reportedly came from Indonesia, and cash worth over one million yuan (US$156,800) from the suspects.
The operation, which started on Sept. 15, covered several cities across the southern province, including the Gongbei customs checkpoint in Zhuhai.
Initial investigation showed that the syndicate shipped the bird’s nest products from Hong Kong to Macau, where parallel traders take them to designated drop-off points on the mainland. The products were then repacked and sent to domestic customers.
It is estimated that the syndicate had smuggled bird’s nest worth as much as 100 million yuan over the past year.
Edible bird’s nest, formed by swiftlets using solidified saliva, is often made into soup, and is highly prized for its exquisite taste and vaunted nutritional value.
Smuggling of bird’s nest has been rampant on the mainland mainly because of the 17 percent levy imposed on imported products, which makes them cost an extra 5,000 yuan a kilogram on average.
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