Smuggling Australian rock lobsters into China a national security threat, Hong Kong customs chief says

1 year ago 239

Rampant smuggling of Australian stone lobsters into mainland China is simply a nationalist information threat, Hong Kong’s caller customs main said Thursday arsenic she vowed to ace down connected the trade.

Lobsters are 1 of a fig of products from Australia that China has restricted imports of arsenic relations betwixt the countries plunged.

But they stay a prized and overmuch sought-after delicacy successful mainland China.

Imports of Australian stone lobsters to Hong Kong – which maintains nary restrictions connected the crustaceans – person since sky-rocketed, with suspicions that the immense bulk extremity up connected mainland tables.

Louise Ho was announced arsenic the city’s caller customs commissioner connected Thursday, the archetypal pistillate to clasp the position.

During her inaugural property conference, she explained wherefore lobsters were 1 of her priorities erstwhile it comes to safeguarding China’s nationalist security.

“On the surface, it is simply a elemental substance of smuggling lobsters, but these activities undermine our country’s commercialized restrictions against Australia,” Ho told reporters.

“Stopping lobster smuggling is simply a precise important portion of protecting nationalist security, truthful we volition prosecute it diligently.”

Smuggling goods by speedboat has been a mainstay of the triad organised transgression gangs operating connected some sides of the borderline for years but the improvement has surged during the coronavirus pandemic.

Police embarked connected a crackdown aft a marine serviceman was killed past period erstwhile her vas was rammed by smugglers during a high-speed chase.

Lobsters are conscionable 1 of a cornucopia of in-demand goods that gangs smuggle into China.

Recent speedboat smuggling busts person netted everything from luxury watches, handbags and shoes to endangered carnal parts, cosmetics, wines, whiskey and cigars.

Last week, Hong Kong and mainland authorities seized 5,300 kilograms of smuggled Australian lobsters, worthy astir US$540,000, and arrested 13 people.

In June, Bloomberg reported that Hong Kong has go the world’s largest importer of Australian lobsters, with monthly commercialized increasing much than 2,000% from October to April.

Ho besides said that customs officials volition actively artifact the inflow of anti-government propaganda astatine the border, adjacent if the contented looked innocuous.

China has cracked down successful Hong Kong aft the metropolis was rocked by immense and often convulsive ideology protests 2 years ago.

It imposed a nationalist information instrumentality past twelvemonth that outlaws overmuch dissent and empowers authorities to spell aft thing deemed a menace to China.