Goods worth MOP 1.5m captured in parallel trade crackdown

Customs authorities today seized around MOP 1.48 million ($0.18 million) worth of goods in Border Gate district, and six people were arrested for allegedly participating in a parallel trading scheme currently the subject of an investigation.

The Macau Customs Department said the six people arrested, four parallel traders and two system officials, were all local women between the ages of 57 and 63. They were allegedly involved in a scheme that first came to light last month. Authorities believe the ring had been active inside a residential building in that area for at least a month.

A Senior Customs Investigator for the Service, Ip Wa Chio, was quoted by Macau Daily News as saying they managed to intercept three of the six suspects at the border checkpoint as they made their way from the building. Traders were hired to transport the goods across the border for MOP 30 per item. Items captured included 450 cell phones, tablets, cosmetics and dried seafood.

Local authorities have carried out a total of 68 anti-parallel trade campaigns since the start of the year, ensnaring more than 2,000 illegal traders, with all of their seizures worth up to MOP 93.23 million.

Many local and non-resident workers have turned to shadow trade to earn a living after being made redundant amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.