Two importers heavily fined for illegal import of hazardous e-waste

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Two importers who illegally imported hazardous electronic waste (e-waste) from the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam were convicted and fined a total of $70,000 by Fanling Magistrates' Courts today (November 14) for contravening the Waste Disposal Ordinance (WDO).

     In collaboration with the Customs and Excise Department, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) intercepted two imported containers at the Kwai Chung Container Terminals this April. The containers were declared to contain computer components and metal scrap. However, hazardous e-waste such as waste flat panel displays, waste batteries and waste printed circuit boards, which were intended for sale in Hong Kong or transshipment to Singapore, were found inside the containers.

The total market value of the intercepted hazardous e-waste was about $200,000. The two containers were immediately returned to the states of origin after interception and the EPD also notified the relevant local enforcement authorities.

     The EPD spokesman said that the intercepted hazardous e-waste contained heavy metals (such as mercury, lead and nickel) and other toxic chemicals. Improper handling of such waste can cause harm to the environment and public health.

The EPD strictly controls import and export of hazardous waste according to the WDO and is committed to combating illegal import of hazardous waste into Hong Kong. All illegally imported containers that are intercepted will be returned to the states of origin following international practice and the offenders will be prosecuted.

     The spokesman reminded importers of the waste recycling trade not to illegally import hazardous waste into Hong Kong for whatever purpose, including import into or transshipment through Hong Kong. In accordance with the WDO, it is an offence for anyone to import (including transshipment) or export hazardous waste without valid permits.

First-time offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $200,000 and six months' imprisonment. Repeat offenders are liable to a maximum fine of $500,000 and two years' imprisonment.

Published on: 2017-11-14

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