Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island Photo: Google Maps

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A 32-year-old South Asian asylum seeker was arrested in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island for allegedly smuggling cigarettes on Wednesday.

At 9pm, Customs Department officers spotted a man carrying four cardboard boxes on Hennessy Road. They concluded that the man was acting suspiciously, Oriental Daily reported.

Officers intercepted the man and discovered 70,000 smuggled cigarettes in the four boxes.

The estimated market value of the seized cigarettes was given at HK$200,000 (US$25,494), while their customs duty liability was HK$140,000.

As the boxes contained cigarettes of various brands, the officers believed that the suspect planned to deliver the packages to distributors in the district.

They are investigating the source of the cigarettes and do not rule out the possibility of further arrests.

Under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance, anyone involved in dealing with, possession of, selling or buying illicit cigarettes commits an offence. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for two years.

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