Hong Kong customs officials seized 162 diamonds at a border with China last week, claiming the stones had been smuggled in a driver’s trouser pocket.
The goods had a market value of around HKD 6.4 million ($826,000), making it the largest diamond-smuggling case Hong Kong authorities had detected in the past three years, the Customs and Excise Department said in a statement Friday.
Officers intercepted a truck at Heung Yuen Wai Control Point, a crossing between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, and arrested the 33-year-old male driver, the statement reported. They later arrested another 33-year-old man in Sham Shui Po, a neighborhood of Hong Kong, in connection with the ongoing investigation.
“Customs will continue to take stringent enforcement action against cross-boundary smuggling activities through risk assessment and intelligence analysis,” the department continued. “Smuggling is a serious offence.”
The penalty for this type of crime is a fine of up to HKD 2 million ($258,000) and seven years’ imprisonment, it noted.
The incident comes after Chinese officials arrested 121 people in September in connection with alleged smuggling of diamonds. The suspects were accused of bringing CNY 3.88 billion (around $570 million) in goods into the country via illegal means since 2015.