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Hong Kong seizes 9,000 bottles of smuggled wine bound for China

Customs in Hong Kong have seized 9,000 bottles of wine set to be smuggled into mainland China in a raid of goods worth HK$200 million (£21.2 million).

Ship unloaded onto truck: Hong Kong seizes 9,000 bottles of smuggled wine bound for China

As has been reported by Vino Joy, images have been released by the Hong Kong government revealing smuggled wines lifted from an ocean-bound vessel destined for Shanghai.

The 9,000 bottles seized by government officials consist of thousands of bottles of Penfolds, some Champagne Moet and Japanese sake Dassai, Vino Joy said.

The raid in Hong Kong led to seizure of more than HK$200 million (£21.2 million) worth of smuggled goods including expensive food ingredients, electronic goods, vinyl records and medicine, as well as wine, according to Hong Kong government.

Dried shark fins, dried fish maws and dried sea cucumbers were among the perishables seized, alongside over 140,000 electronic goods, about 70,000 pieces of vinyl records, 4,000 boxes of medicine and endangered species.

Five men between the ages of 38 and 54 have been arrested on suspicion of being connected with the case, the investigation into which is still ongoing.

Vino Joy reported that according to the customs, the authorities acted on intelligence and intercepted two ocean-going vessels heading for Shanghai at Tsing Yi Container Terminal on 11 and 12 December.

The raid is the second-largest seizure of illegal goods by the Hong Kong government this year. China’s borders remain largely closed due to the pandemic, making it more difficult to import goods into the country.

In May, we reported that Treasury Wine Estates plans to release a made-in-China version of its iconic Penfolds brand, in a bid to dodge the crippling import tariffs that China has levied on Australian goods.

At the time, Australian wine exports were down 26%, largely due to Chinese tariffs and “challenging” conditions. It appears that Treasury Wine Estates, one the world’s largest winemakers, has plans to circumvent the tariffs by releasing a made-in-China version of its Penfolds brand. Read more on that here.

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