Smuggling gangs being squeezed out of seafood in China

Published on
March 22, 2018

The Chinese government’s crackdown against organized crime is resulting in a significant disruption in the country’s formerly thriving grey trade in seafood. 

China’s state-owned media has been awash in recent months with reports of arrests and investigations of triad-style gangs, many of which have significant international networks. 

The most recent victory for China’s authorities in their battle against seafood smuggling came in the form of the arrests of members of an “extremely well-organized” gang of smugglers in Guangdong Province. Guangdong Provincial Customs officers arrested a group of gang-members suspected of smuggling Spanish mackerel, pomfret, and vannemei shrimp through the hiring of locals who took advantage of special “border resident” IDs given to border residents, allowing them to trade and move more freely. 

In addition to the arrests, the Guangdong authorities seized and destroyed a large amount of the smuggled seafood, which came through Vietnam from as far away as Africa, Ecuador and Indonesia.

“These goods didn’t go through quarantine and thus pose[d] a risk to food safety,” according to a police press statement.

Having spent five years jailing corrupt officials, China’s police force has thus far in 2018 focused its attention on criminal gangs – many of which have been exposed after their political protectors were reeled in during the anti-corruption campaign. 

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