Nine suspects were caught on Monday for parallel trading in violation of the External Trade Law, resulting in the confiscation of a total of 2,700 luxury brand cosmetics, handbags and clothes worth MOP 2.4 million (US$302,000), the Macao Customs Services said in a statement this week.
According to Wednesday’s statement, customs officers discovered recently that a number of so-called parallel trading shops (known in Cantonese as “seui fo dim”) near the Barrier Gate have become active again.
During the surveillance period, customs officers discovered that suspected parallel traders frequently visited one of the shops. Customs officers took action on Monday evening and took legal action against nine suspects – four men and five women – for alleged violation of the External Trade Law, while seven people from the shop – a local man in charge of the shop, a Hong Kong man who ran the shop and five other non-locals – are under investigation. Six of them are alleged to have been employed illegally by the shop.
The person-in-charge of the shop has been transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) for the illegal employment of the shop’s staff.
The statement said the person-in-charge is suspected of having used manipulative methods to illegally employ the six people, the Hong Kong man to run the shop and other non-locals to carry a large amount of luxury goods in small batches across the Barrier Gate checkpoint to the mainland.
According to the investigation, most of the parallel goods had been legally imported into Macao before they were carried by the shop’s staff in batches across the border checkpoint to circumvent Macao’s formal export procedures.
The Macao Customs Service is paying close attention to illegal cross-border activities, and it has been strengthening its intelligence exchanges with nearby regions, according to the statement.
In case of suspected smuggling or undeclared items, the statement urged members of the public to contact the Macao Customs Service on 2896 5001, fax 2896 5003 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.