Guangdong busts US$29 million worth of smuggled spirits

A joint Customs operation in Zhuhai and Shantou in China’s southern Guangdong province has yielded a total of RMB 200 million (US$29 million) worth of smuggled and undeclared spirits including more than 200 tonnes of Cognacs and a batch of freshly bottled spirits, according to the Customs Department.

A bottle of Menuet discovered from the bust (Photo source: CNTV)

The bust nabbed the biggest haul of contraband products so far this year, roughly a month after Shenzhen Customs cracked a wine smuggling case involving almost US$12 million worth of smuggled wines, as cross-border checks in China’s coastal cities continues to tighten up on smuggled goods.

One Macau citizen surnamed Yang, who is the Greater China representative of an undisclosed French spirits brand, was identified as a prime suspect in the case, according to Chinese media reports.

Customs officials in Huangpo said Yang has set up many companies in Zhuhai and Shantou and used these companies to produce fake certificates and documents, and under-declared the value of imported bulk and bottled spirits.

When the bulk spirits successfully entered China, Yang would send them to his company in Shantou to bottle the liquor and distribute them afterwards. In two of the main outlets where Yang was distributing the spirits, one on Yuehai East Road has been found to have many allegedly smuggled spirits from Menuet. Meanwhile, in the other location in a high-end outlet, police have uncovered a large cache of apparently smuggled spirits.

Police have also found more smuggled bulk spirits and finished bottles inside a cellar as well as manufacturing facilities that belong to one of Yang’s companies in Shantou.

According to a Chinese report by The Paper, police discovered “a significant amount” of barrels, the liquor inside of which is reportedly Cognac, and the importing dates are between 2016 and 2017. In another site in Shantou, there appeared to be a bottling station for the spirits.

“Producing spirits at this place certainly did not meet any hygiene requirements. What’s more, his spirits are not really authentic. He has been doing primary mixing in the previous cellar,” Sun Li, an official from Huangpo Customs Anti-Smuggling department, was quoted as saying.

Altogether, nine suspects were arrested in connection to the case.

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