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Hong Kong confirms rise in smuggling

10 Apr 2011. The Customs and Excise Department said cigarette smuggling has increased since tobacco duty has been hiked in February this year.

According to the China Daily, the Legislative Council Panel on Security held a special meeting on Friday to discuss the situation concerning the illicit trade in cigarettes that has risen since the increase of 41.5 per cent in the tobacco duty on 23 February.

At the panel meeting, Tam Yiu-keung, assistant commissioner of the Customs and Excise Department said that in recent years, sales of illicit cigarettes through "telephone booking" have been on the rise, coupled with an increase of cross-border couriers carrying small quantities each time.

The department says it will augment law enforcement on various fronts, including raids, the use of undercover agents and tracking of warehouses where illicit cigarettes are stocked.

Several lawmakers expressed concern about the limited number of customs officers deployed to tackle illicit cigarettes. (pi)