Customs sign in the hong kong airport. (pic: file image)
China Wine

Smuggled Opus One, Lafite destined for China intercepted at border

The "biggest smuggling case" involving "highest value" of fine wines including Opus One, Lafite and Mouton were seized at China borders.

Customs officers at Gongbei Port linking Casino city Macau to mainland China have seized 28 bottles of fine wines including Napa’s Opus One and Bordeaux first growths, the “biggest smuggling case” involving “highest value”, according to the country’s customs department.

The wines were hiding in a passenger bus and were uncovered during a routine check on the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge this month.

smuggled wines (pic: Gongbei customs)
28 bottles of smuggled fine wines were seized by cross-border officers (pic: Gongbei customs)

The smuggled wines include Napa cult wine Opus One, Bordeaux first growths, Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Mouton Rothschild.

“This is the biggest single case of alcohol smuggling with the highest value and largest quantity seized by the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Customs”, says the country’s General Administration of Customs on its official website.

A bottle of Opus One on the mainland retails around RMB 3500 (US$541) a bottle, while a bottle of Lafite and Mouton sells for around RMB 6,000 (US$930) respectively. The customs did not disclose estimated value of the haul.

Besides wine, 16 bottles of China’s most known Baijiu brand, Kweichow Moutai, were also seized in the check.

Similar to Hong Kong, Macau does not impose duties on wine or any alcoholic beverages with alcohol level less than 30%. Whereas on the mainland, a 14% import tariff is imposed on wines except for FTA countries such as Chile, New Zealand and Georgia.

Travel between Macau and Guangdong has returned to normal since last July, which gives rise to individual smugglers often refer to coyotes who would carry tax-free goods from the casino city to mainland China for higher profits.

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