Hong Kong police said that in the first six months of this year, the government of the special zone arrested 138 tons of smuggled meat worth HKD 21 million (US$2.7 million) on 20 high-speed trains with nearly 40 suspects. mainlanders. Last year, the amount of smuggled meat seized was 3,344 tons, worth HKD149 million.
The smuggling gangs are said to be run by the city’s three major organizations, Sun Yee On, 14K CZK and Wo Shing Wo, main activities are drug trafficking, extortion, gambling and illegal black credit. Using dozens of high-powered speedboats, they sailed into Hong Kong waters, picked up contraband and ran to delivery points just minutes away on the mainland. This can be repeated multiple trips throughout the night.
Smuggled frozen meat includes beef, offal, pig hooves, chicken wings and chicken feet from countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India, Poland, the US, UK and Ukraine. Smuggling activity has increased sharply as the supply of frozen meat to the mainland has decreased due to strict import restrictions due to Covid.
In the past, the gangs used cargo ships and fishing boats, but after intensified police operations last year, they turned to speedboat smuggling.
“Speedboats carry less but can go faster in a sea chase. Using speedboats also reduces losses in the event of being intercepted by law enforcement,” said a representative of the law enforcement agency. Hong Kong survey said.
According to intelligence, the gangs are stationed in the sea west of the city near Sha Chau, Lung Kwu Chau, about two to three kilometers from the maritime boundary between Hong Kong and the mainland. From 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. the next morning, full barges wait in the west coast of Hong Kong to begin the cross-border trade, estimated at 1,000 tons of cargo per night.
Cheng Hing, former president of the Hong Kong Frozen Meat and Seafood Retailers Association, said the boom in upscale restaurants in the mainland has pushed up demand and prices there.
Increased authorities’ action against meat smugglers may have forced some gangs to shut down, but others were quick to jump in.
“If one rooster dies, another rooster will rise and crow. Many people want a share of this highly profitable business,” he added.