Customs authorities in eastern China’s Shandong province are cracking down on illegal seafood imports after the discovery of tainted products brought in from Japan.
They say some of the potentially radioactive products might have made it to supermarkets, Apple Daily reports.
On Sunday, a dozen suspects were arrested during a raid on a syndicate believed to be behind the illegal imports.
In the past two years, the syndicate has shipped more than 5,000 metric tons of seafood, worth 230 million yuan (US$34.57 million), into the country.
Customs inspectors in Qingdao found expensive seafood including lobsters, scallops and king crab being sold well below market prices.
The shipment transited Vietnam and reached eastern China by land, skirting customs inspections in Beijing, Shanghai and Guanzhou, police said.
Some of the smuggled seafood originated in Fukushima prefecture, the site of a nuclear disaster during the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
Since then, China has banned seafood imports from Fukushima and 11 other Japanese cities.
Investigations led customs officials to the syndicate headed by a Chinese man, surnamed Wang.
Wang, who lived in the US, controlled the gang through an elaborate network of cells in Shandong, Fujian, Guangxi and Liaoning provinces.
He was arrested when he returned to China in June, according to the Hong Kong China News Agency.
Lee Choi-wah, chairman of the Hong Kong Chamber of Seafood Merchants, said Fukushima seafood has been sold locally at extremely low prices.
However, it’s unlikely to have entered Hong Kong in any significant quantity, he said.
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