Hong Kong customs seized about 900 kilograms of live lobsters from Monday to Tuesday. Authorities are tightening up their efforts to stop Australian lobsters from being smuggled into western China.

Overnight Monday to Tuesday, Hong Kong customs officials seized roughly 900 kg of live lobsters from a speedboat, as authorities tighten their grip on smuggling Australian lobsters into mainland China.

China has imposed import restrictions on a number of Australian items as relations between the two countries have deteriorated. Lobsters are among them.
Australian lobster imports to Hong Kong have surged, with the majority of the lobsters ending up on the continent's tables.

Lobsters and sea cucumbers

According to Lui Siu-fai, divisional commander of the city's customs department, 890 kilos of live lobsters and around 930 kilograms of sea cucumbers were discovered onboard a twin-engine speedboat that was attempting to escape southern Hong Kong Island in favor of darkness on Monday and Tuesday. He said during a press conference on Tuesday that the provenance of the seafood is being investigated.

Last month, Hong Kong's customs head described illegal Australian lobsters as a "threat to national security," vowing to crack down on the trade. 

From July through September, 5,300 kg

The Australian Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, says that since Beijing's unofficial embargo took effect in October 2020, Australian lobster shipments to Hong Kong have climbed from a monthly value of US $ 426,000 to a peak of over $ 19 million last June. Authorities in Hong Kong and the mainland confiscated 5,300 kg of illicit Australian lobsters worth roughly $ 540,000 and detained 13 people between July and September.

In addition, during operations on numerous Hong Kong importers last month, 228 tonnes of illicit Australian lobsters with an estimated market value of US $ 23.1 million were confiscated, and seven persons were arrested.