Fifty tons of smuggled seafood worth a whopping RMB800 million was confiscated by customs officers in Jiangmen on September 10, according to China Daily. Shark fins, fish maws, sea cucumbers and abalones comprised the bulk of the seized seafood.
The bust saw 35 suspects arrested in the Guangdong cities of Jiangmen, Guangzhou and Maoming, as well as in Yunnan, by the Jiangmen Customs Anti-Smuggling Bureau, who were alerted to the smuggling syndicate’s activities back in November 2016.
The oceanic edibles were reportedly purchased in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia before being shipped to Hong Kong for packaging. After that, the goods were brought to Vietnam, and then entered China’s Yunnan province.
During the operation, police discovered workers processing seafood in a dodgy plant in Jiangmen’s Hetang town, where shark fins were being steeped in a “pungent fluid.”
According to China Daily, the smuggling operation was headed by a Hong Kong resident surnamed Xu. The case remains under investigation.
Within China’s seafood production industry, Jiangmen is known as the nation’s most notable shark fin processing hub. As such, this isn’t the first bust of smuggled fins to be carried out by the Jiangmen Customs Anti-Smuggling Bureau.
In December 2012, authorities in Jiangmen seized RMB300 million worth of illicit shark fins in what was then the largest operation of its kind in China.
According to a CCTV report, taxes on imported shark fins remain rather high and most of China's fins are purchased by seafood merchants in countries such as Spain, Indonesia, Mozambique and the Philippines.
[Images via China Daily]