How the Australian lobster threatens national security in … Hong Kong!

Lobster is one of the many Australian products that China has restricted imports due to the deterioration of relations between the two countries. But it remains a very popular and sought-after delicacy in mainland China. Imports of Australian lobsters to Hong Kong, which does not impose any restrictions on these crustaceans, have since exploded, the vast majority of them probably ending up on the tables of the continent.

Louise Ho was named the city’s new customs commissioner on Thursday. The first woman to hold the post, she explained at her inaugural press conference why lobster was one of her priorities in safeguarding China’s national security.

“On the surface this is a simple lobster smuggling case, but these activities are undermining our country’s trade restrictions on Australia,” Ho told reporters.

Smuggling of goods by ship has for years been a mainstay of the criminal triads, which operate on both sides of the border, and the phenomenon has intensified during the coronavirus pandemic. Lobsters are just one of the many in-demand products that gangs are smuggling into China.

Last week, authorities in Hong Kong and the mainland seized contraband Australian lobsters worth around 464,000 euros, and arrested 13 people.

In June, Bloomberg reported that Hong Kong had become the world’s largest importer of Australian lobsters, with monthly growth of more than 2,000% between October and April.

Relations between the two countries are at their lowest in decades. Recently, China imposed tariffs on a range of Australian products, such as wine and barley. The two countries have not had ministerial contacts for months.

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