Mainland customs officials seized about 6,000 Hermes, Prada and other luxury-brand goods worth about HK$440 million from suspected members of syndicates who used Hong Kong as their transshipment point.
The groups bought the luxury handbags overseas and asked the sellers to deliver them to Hong Kong warehouses through courier service, according to a Metro Daily report.
From there, the groups employed young and pretty ladies to take the luxury items across the border, each time carrying only one or two items so as not to arouse the suspicion of customs inspectors.
The goods were then sold in shops in Shenzhen’s Futain district as well as on online platforms.
Due to the high tax rates imposed on luxury items on the mainland, smuggling has become a lucrative business, the report said.
One shop in Shenzhen selling smuggled luxury items has raked in 270 million yuan (US$42.5 million) in just three years, a Shenzhen customs official said.
At least 32 suspects were arrested on Oct. 16, when customs and other law enforcement units raided several stores and warehouses in a number of key cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. The operation was codenamed Justice 14.
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