SMUG­GLING ROUTE

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By QIU QUANLIN in Guangzhou qi­uquan­lin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Bor­der po­lice check a tun­nel used by smug­glers in Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince, on Tues­day. The 40-me­ter link to Hong Kong starts in a garage at an apart­ment build­ing.

New ways of smug­gling goods to Guang­dong prov­ince from neigh­bor­ing Hong Kong — in­clud­ing un­der­ground pas­sages and sky ropes — have be­come more com­mon, a bor­der pa­trol of­fi­cer said on Wednes­day.

Goods smug­gled from Hong Kong are mostly elec­tronic prod­ucts, which are less ex­pen­sive than sim­i­lar items on the main­land, said Mo Shu, in­spec­tion head of the sixth branch of the Fron­tier De­fense Corps of Guang­dong prov­ince.

“This year we found that smug­glers re­ally like to use un­der­ground pas­sages and sky ropes to smug­gle such goods,” Mo said.

Mo said that in the past, smug­glers usu­ally used trucks and ships. But sources with the pro­vin­cial bor­der pa­trol au­thor­ity said it had un­cov­ered four cases this year in which smug­glers moved goods through un­der­ground pas­sages.

The goods in­cluded more than 500 smart­phones, 140 Ap­ple iPads and more than 400 hard drives.

In a sep­a­rate case, smug­glers used un­der­ground cul­verts to il­le­gally move ivory into Shen­zhen, which bor­ders Hong Kong, the au­thor­ity said.

“In such cases, smug­glers loaded goods on boats in Hong Kong, then trans­ported goods through des­ig­nated un­der­ground cul­verts to Shen­zhen,” Mo said.

In the most re­cent case, bor­der pa­trol sol­diers in Shen­zhen dis­cov­ered and sealed an un­fin­ished tun­nel un­der a res­i­den­tial com­plex garage on Dec 19. Au­thor­i­ties be­lieve the tun­nel would have been used to smug­gle goods from Hong Kong, sources with the Guang­dong Fron­tier De­fense Corps said.

The un­fin­ished tun­nel, which had an open­ing in Gan­glianyi vil­lage in Shen­zhen, was about 40 me­ters long, 80 cm wide and 1 me­ter tall, Mo said.

In­side the tun­nel, bor­der pa­trol of­fi­cers found lights, ven­ti­la­tion pipes, carts, track, ropes and pul­leys.

Po­lice seized the equip­ment and ar­rested an owner of the garage.

“But no smug­glers have been ar­rested. The case is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Mo said.

The prop­erty owner told po­lice the garage was rented in Au­gust to a man who was later found to have used a fake iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card.

“The tun­nel was in­tended to be used to smug­gle cell­phones, hard drives, tablet com­put­ers and other elec­tronic prod­ucts from Hong Kong to Guang­dong to evade cus­toms du­ties and other taxes,” Mo told China Daily.

The il­le­gal ship­ment of goods is also well above ground, as well as un­der it.

Smug­glers of­ten use pul­leys and ropes con­nect­ing high build­ings in Hong Kong and Shen­zhen, Mo said.

“Build­ings be­tween Hong Kong and Shen­zhen are as close as 30 me­ters. Smug­glers can eas­ily put ropes and pul­leys on such build­ings,” Mo said.

Such smug­gling usu­ally can be ac­com­plished within five min­utes, Mo said.

Last De­cem­ber, bor­der pa­trol of­fi­cers un­cov­ered a smug­gling case in which smug­glers trans­ported more than 200 smart­phones from Hong Kong to Shen­zhen via ropes and pul­leys.

Mo said au­thor­i­ties in Guang­dong and Hong Kong have been crack­ing down on such smug­gling cases.

By the end of Novem­ber, bor­der pa­trol au­thor­i­ties in Guang­dong had un­cov­ered 504 smug­gling cases this year in which goods were trans­ported from Hong Kong and Ma­cao.

PHOTO BY JIANG BO / FOR CHINA DAILY

XUE YUNHUI / FOR CHINA DAILY

Bor­der pa­trol of­fi­cers in­spect a hole on Tues­day. The hole was dug by smug­glers in a garage to use as an un­der­ground pas­sage link­ing Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince, and Hong Kong.

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