A haul of about 3,000 items worth about MOP 3.8 million (US$476,000), such as second-hand laptops and cosmetic products, were seized in Macao and Zhuhai on Tuesday after the two cities’ law enforcement agencies jointly busted an illegal parallel trading racket, the Macao Customs Service said in a statement last night.
According to the statement, some 2,200 of the about 3,000 goods were confiscated by Macao customs officers in a shop near the Barrier Gate checkpoint, while the remainder was seized by Zhuhai police officers in several shops near the Gongbei checkpoint where staff members collected goods smuggled from Macao by parallel traders.
The statement said that based on their exchange of intelligence, the Macao Customs Service had identified a shop near the Barrier Gate checkpoint as a suspected venue used for storing parallel-trading goods, while the Zhuhai Public Security Bureau had identified several shops near the Gongbei checkpoint as suspected parallel-trading goods collection points.
According to the statement, the two law enforcement agencies carried out their joint operation in the adjacent cities on Tuesday when it was the “right time” to take action. In the operation, Macao Customs Service officers seized about 2,200 items worth about MOP 3 million in the local shop, including second-hand laptops, handheld game consoles, and beauty and cosmetic products, while Zhuhai Public Security Bureau officers confiscated about 800 items worth about MOP 800,000 in several goods collection points, including second-hand laptops, handheld game consoles, beauty and cosmetics products, bottles of Chinese spirits and red wine, and mooncakes.
According to the statement, Macao customs officers concluded that the owner of the shop had hired parallel traders to carry a small quantity of goods each time from Macao to Zhuhai in order to evade the two cities’ customs checks. In Chinese smuggling jargon, this kind of activity is known as “ants moving home” tactics. Parallel traders are known as “water goods travellers” in the jargon.
The statement said that Macao customs officers apprehended the owner and four staff members of the shop, as well as two parallel traders in the operation. The offenders face a fine of up to MOP 50,000 each for breaching the External Trade Law. All the products have been impounded by the government.
The statement also said that as one of the two parallel traders is a non-resident worker, whose gender was not revealed, the Macao Customs Service has transferred him or her and the shop’s owner to the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) for their alleged violation of the law on the hiring of non-resident workers.
According to the statement, Zhuhai police officers caught three shop owners and staff members and 25 parallel traders in their operation.
The statement underlined the “hard-won” achievements of the relaxation of restrictions on the movement of people between the two cities in the wake of the two cities’ COVID-19 prevention work having become routine, urging residents and non-resident workers not to engage in parallel trading for pecuniary reasons.