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Gangs busted for smuggling watches

Release time:2017-08-02    To share:  

A MYSTERIOUS mobile phone number kept by multiple smugglers caught at Futian Checkpoint led to Shenzhen police’s crackdown on a large-scale backstage smuggling network that ran smuggling businesses across the border, Shenzhen Customs announced Monday.

The official statement disclosed that Shenzhen Customs, along with Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau, had busted five smuggling gangs in a special anti-smuggling operation July 13. The police seized more than 2,000 watches with an estimated market value of around 150 million yuan (US$22.32 million).

In the second half of 2016, according to Shenzhen Customs, inspectors at Futian Checkpoint noticed the same phone number on the phones of several detained smugglers. The inspectors suspected that the phone number belonged to a backstage gang that organized smuggling deals.

An investigation team was established by the Shenzhen Customs’ anti-smuggling department and the city’s public security bureau to follow up on the lead. Over a few months, the underground smuggling network gradually emerged.

By mid-July, the team had gathered enough information to bust the smuggling gangs. These groups, led by suspects surnamed Yuan and Cao, allegedly employed shuike (or parallel traders) to carry watches across the border without declaration.

Over 300 anti-smuggling officers and policemen July 13 raided the smuggling dens in multiple cities including Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Nanyang, Beijing and Shanghai. A total of 24 suspects were detained with more than 2,000 Longines, Tissot and Omega watches seized.

Police found that the smuggling network was a tight-knit organization with a clear division of labor. The smugglers would order watches from stores in Hong Kong over the Internet and then tell Yuan and his people to collect the watches. Shuike would then carry the watches through Futian Checkpoint.

Watches that made it across the border would be mailed to retailers based in various cities on the mainland. However, unlike previous smuggling cases, these gangs had not set up storehouses near the checkpoints, but instead chose residential housing in rural areas or urban villages.

(Zhang Qian)