China Cracks Down on Meat Smuggling (Again)

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Chinese customs authorities have been announcing seizures of smuggled meat products. This crackdown began in 2019 and seems to reflect a surge in smuggling prompted by a spike in Chinese meat prices last year that increased the trade’s profitability.

The inspection bureau of the Huangpu port in Guangzhou says it has arrested 36 suspects and seized 4582 metric tons of frozen beef, chicken feet, and pork stomachs in a six-month crackdown. Customs and police jointly mobilized 458 officers to conduct 62 operations in Guangzhou, Dongguan, Shantou, Shenzhen and Guilin over the past six months.

They arrested 36 suspects, bringing down this “huge gang” “in one fell swoop.” Officials say a suspect received shipments of beef in Hong Kong, then transferred them to ports in Guangdong and stored them in warehouses. Customs inspectors say they saw large amounts of meat in boxes with foreign labels stored in a warehouse with fraudulent documents and inspection certificates, and no identification of final customers for the products.

Last month Shanghai authorities reported that smuggling cases reached a record high in 2019. Petroleum and sugar were the top items, but frozen meat was also tagged as a new target of smuggling.

Shenzhen authorities attributed a surge in smuggled meat in Pearl River ports since last year to the big difference between Chinese and foreign prices.

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