Court reveals smuggling cases doubled in 2016

Shanghai court saw a surge in smuggling cases in 2016 with oil smuggling being a major irritant as the coastal areas made it easy for an underground industry to flourish.

The Shanghai No. 3 Intermediate People’s Court said yesterday that smuggling cases at the end of 2016 were nearly double than in 2015.

The court said in 2016, it had to deal with 86 smuggling cases involving goods from refined petroleum products to vehicle component, to electronic gadgets and wildlife products.

Oil smuggling was a particular problem in coastal areas where an underground industry flourished.

In July last year, a ship owner surnamed Zhang and his two crew members were caught importing more than 354 tons of oil, worth 950,000 yuan (US$138,416) in the market. If they had managed to sell that, the losses for the state would have been up to 810,000 yuan in taxes.

The court learnt that they used satellite phone to contact a foreign oil tanker and purchased oil on international waters. 

The court also dealt with six cases of drug trafficking and jailed seven smugglers. Four of them were jailed between seven to 15 years, and two were jailed for life.

In May last year, an Indonesian woman, identified by the court as Nida, was caught with almost 1.5 kilograms of drugs in her luggage when she arrived in Shanghai on a flight from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She was sentenced to life.

Another frequent violation involved avoiding Customs duty with people buying luxurious goods worth more than 5,000 yuan overseas but refusing to declare them on arrival.

In one particular case, a couple spent nearly 1.25 million yuan buying a Breguet watch in Hawaii. They did not declare it on arrival and avoided paying Customs duty worth about 375,000 yuan. The court did not sentence them to jail but the watch was seized by the authorities.


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