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High-speed boat chase in Hong Kong ends with smuggling arrest and seizure of HK$2.8 million haul

High-speed boat chase in Hong Kong ends with smuggling arrest and seizure of HK$2.8 million haul

HONG KONG: Police seized a HK$2.8 million haul of electronics and valuable stones intended for smuggling onto the mainland on Wednesday night, after a 5km high-speed chase with a boat in eastern Hong Kong waters.

But the people aboard another boat involved managed to escape and head back to the mainland.

The haul, including new digital cameras and lenses, used mobile phones and iPads, and amber stones used in jewellery, was found hidden in the secret compartment of the speedboat that was intercepted off Ng Fan Chau near Shek O, according to police.

Officers arrested a Hongkonger aboard the eight-metre-long boat. The 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of smuggling. The specific crime, exporting unmanifested goods, carries a maximum penalty of a seven-year jail term and a HK$2 million fine.

Police officers had their eyes on the Hong Kong-registered speedboat from when it left Shau Kei Wan typhoon shelter, north Hong Kong Island, at about 7pm on Wednesday.

Another speedboat carrying three men was spotted entering Hong Kong waters at the same time, according to police.

“When the two boats met and berthed each other north of Sung Kong [island] near Waglan Island, boxes of goods were being unloaded from the Hong Kong-registered speedboat to the other,” a police source said. Waglan Island is one of the easternmost islands in Hong Kong waters.

As police vessels moved in, the two speedboats sped in different directions.

The source said the Hong Kong-registered speedboat was making a U-turn heading towards Shek O but was intercepted off Ng Fan Chau. Those aboard the other boat managed to leave Hong Kong waters and head for the mainland.

Aboard the intercepted boat police found 13 boxes of new digital cameras and lenses, seven boxes of amber stones and 17 boxes of used mobile phones and iPads. They were all hidden in a secret compartment.

The source believed the consignment worth about HK$2.8 million was destined for Huidong in Guangdong. Other items may have been moved to the other boat before officers arrived.