November 29, 2019 / 11:49 AM / 13 days ago

Hong Kong customs seizes $50 mln smuggled frozen meat to mainland China

BEIJING/HONG KONG, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Hong Kong customs seized about 540 tonnes of suspected smuggled frozen meat with an estimated market value of about $50 million, the authority said in a statement on Friday, case of its kind in the past decade.

The meat was found aboard four suspicious fishing vessels that were leaving Hong Kong, the customs authority said in a statement. Local broadcaster RTHK said the vessels were allegedly bound for mainland China.

Meat prices in China hit a record high following an outbreak of African swine fever that swept through the country’s pig herd. That makes meat smuggling more profitable than at any time in the past.

Six men aged between 52 and 64 were arrested, according to Hong Kong customs. But the statement did not specify what meat the six men were smuggling.

To ensure supplies in the market, China has been increasing meat imports, with pork arrivals in October doubled from a year earlier and beef arrivals up 63.2% on year. (Reporting by Muyu Xu in Beijing and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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