Hong Kong police seized a cache of premium Macallan whisky and Japanese sake in an anti-smuggling operation on August 31, the first bust of top-shelf liquor for Hong Kong law enforcement this year, as months of border closure drove up smuggling related crimes.
The operation seized HK$18.4 million worth of goods in their latest anti-smuggling operation on Lantau Island’s Sham Shui Kok Drive on Monday night. The goods include 30 Year Old Macallan which sells for RMB 40,000 a bottle on the mainland and Japan’s Juyondai sake.
According to police, more than 200 bottles of scotch, Japanese whisky and Japanese sake worth about HK$2.1 million were busted during the operation.
Besides scotch, Japanese whisky and sake, law enforcement also seized luxury goods, clothing, shoes, bags, fish maw, shark fins and among others.
According to police, because of monthslong cross-border closure caused by Covid-19, deep-pocketed mainland tourists this year couldn’t travel to Hong Kong for shopping spree, prompting more organized crimes related to smuggling.
According to the Customs and Excise Department, the total value of items seized in 45 cross-border maritime smuggling cases this year (HK$280 million or US$36.1 million) so far – is already 73% higher than last year’s total value.
In mainland China, the central government slashed Scotch whisky tariffs from 10% to 5% in 2017, bringing down the total taxes levied on scotch drams to 48.31%.
Smuggling from Hong Kong to the mainland is still rampant mainly because of provenance despite the fact imported whiskies are subject to 100% tax in Hong Kong.