Two Hong Kong residents were charged with smuggling luxury watches into the Chinese mainland, which they sold online, the local anti-smuggling department said on Monday.
They confessed to smuggling in 1,733 watches, with a value of 15.8 million yuan ($2.3 million), and selling them. They also evaded almost 5 million in taxes.
The anti-smuggling department received a tip last year about a gang that, since November 2007, hired individual smugglers to transport the watches.
In July 2008, enforcement officers raided the gang's office hidden in a residential area in Shenzhen. They confiscated a Rolex and two Enicars.
Investigators studied the organizational structure and the techniques of the gang during a two-month investigation, it said.
A man surnamed He registered online orders and paid individual smugglers to pick up the watches from another man surnamed Lao in Hong Kong.
The individual smugglers, who didn't know each other, carried a small number of watches through customs. Those who were caught tried to avoid punishment by saying the watches were for their personal use.
One of the blacklisted smugglers, surnamed Wang, was observed moving watches for two Hong Kongers.
Meanwhile, another team of investigators witnessed Wang near the border checkpoint area with his wife. The officers removed 31 watches from a baby stroller carried by his wife.
This is the first such case in the city in which the ringleaders used the Internet to sell watches, according to the anti-smuggling department.
Source: China Daily