RAPAPORT… Hong Kong authorities busted smugglers transporting diamonds and other jewels estimated to be worth HKD 25 million ($3.2 million) in the largest case of its kind detected by the municipality’s customs department.
Officers discovered the illegal contents when they stopped an outbound truck for inspection at the Sha Tau Kok control point last week, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department said. The vehicle’s cargo compartment contained about 1,300 diamonds, 10 sapphires, an emerald, and approximately 30 grams of melee diamonds, all of which were undeclared.
Customs also found 17 gold bars inside two backpacks, it noted. Those had been listed on the truck’s manifest, and were not being illegally transported, according to the South China Morning Post.
Authorities arrested the 47-year-old male driver under suspicion of importing or exporting unmanifested cargo — a crime that carries a fine of up to HKD 2 million ($257,808) and seven years in jail. The investigation remains ongoing, with customs stressing it will continue to crack down on illegal transportation of goods.
“Customs will continue to take stringent enforcement action against cross-boundary smuggling activities through risk assessment and intelligence analysis,” it added. “Smuggling is a serious offense.”
Image: The seized diamonds and gemstones. (Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department)