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Crackdown on pretend Kobe beef (2)

By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)

09:18, February 05, 2013

Several of them, including Ryotei Kabuki and Trattoria Yamatoya in Shanghai, told CCTV reporters who pretended to be ordinary customers that they served the beef imported from Japan and sold it for up to 880 yuan for a small portion.

But during later inspections, inspectors found these products are from cattle raised in China or Australia, CCTV reported, and products without proper credentials to show their sources are confiscated.

Ryotei Kabuki and Trattoria Yamatoya, the only two restaurants identified in the CCTV report, remained open for business on Monday.

Official figures showed that the smuggled beef products intercepted in Shanghai have dropped from a peak in 2007, when 3.4 metric tons were intercepted in 37 shipments, to 535 kg in the first nine months of 2012.

In the recent crackdown, inspection officials at Shanghai Pudong International Airport intercepted 159 kg of frozen beef when checking luggage of a flight from Tokyo on Jan 24.

According to the CCTV report, the owners of the luggage dropped their six cases and escaped after inspection officials became suspicious.

A spokesman at the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said on Monday that they were still tracking the two men and the confiscated beef will be destroyed.

Smugglers have become more skillful, the spokesman said. For instance, they now use smaller containers, such as backpacks and trolley cases, to ferry the products, and sprinkle large amount of coffee in their luggage to confuse sniffer dogs.

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