(Yicai Global) April 9 -- Customs at Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge thwarted 45 cosmetic smuggling attempts, 36 of which resulted in charges, and seized 3,434 items of cosmetics valued at CNY1.3 million (USD193,542) last month.
Some mainland tourists returning from Hong Kong try to bring in large quantities of undeclared cosmetics such as Clé de Peau Beauté, SK-II, La Mer and other high-end brands in large suitcases and backpacks for high profits.
Smugglers thus seek to use the bridge as an avenue for their misdeeds. They hire tourists to act as mules to sneak in large quantities of beauty products in small parcels during peak hours to avoid Customs clearance, according to a source.
Inspectors at the bridge set up a special team to crack down on the smuggling. It beefed up its inspection force during targeted periods, and used smart CT scans and inspection machines, intelligent graph analyses and other scientific equipment and technical means to precision strike key persons and goods.
The squad also worked closely with its Hong Kong and Shenzhen peers, and boosted information exchanges with them, sharing pictures of and data on smugglers to hit heavily at the source and nip it in the bud.
Customs pledged to keep cracking down on the illicit practice and warned tourists to abide by the rules and above all decline to help smugglers move their contraband.
Some Hong Kong goods have prices which are less than the mainland's because of lower tariffs and the profit from exploiting this differential is irresistible bait for scofflaws.
Inbound travelers who are Chinese residents with items valued below CNY5,000 (USD744.6) and non-residents who will stay in the mainland with articles worth under CNY2,000 are exempt from duties.
The bridge system, which consists of spans and tunnels, is the longest sea crossing on Earth at 55 kilometers, public information shows. It cost CNY127 billion (USD18.8 billion) to build, funded by bank loans to the governments of the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau.
After construction delays, the structure was completed on Feb. 6 last year and opened to traffic on Oct 24.
Editor: Ben Armour