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  • These look suspicious. There are several large packages in the bow.

  • In October 2021, customs officials in Hong Kong announced a series of record anti-smuggling seizures when a group of shady looking men were spotted shifting containers from a truck to a speedboat.

  • When law enforcement gave chase, the men fled, leaving behind contraband with an estimated street value of $210 million.

  • It proved an eclectic haulfake luxury handbags, high-end watches, cigars, food, even exotic animal parts, including endangered shark fin.

  • The origin of the suspected smuggling goods is still under our investigation.

  • In the same month, police apprehended an air cargo consignment arriving from Mexico.

  • As well as the stated solar panels, the crates included 180 kilos of carefully packed methamphetamine.

  • Three local men were arrested and bailed pending further inquiries.

  • Neither represented the first case of its kind in Hong Kong, even if the scale of the busts set them apart.

  • Smuggling is a major revenue driver for organized crime across the globe, with Hong Kong a major hub in one of the most truly globalized of illicit trades.

  • This is The Business of Crime.

  • In this episode, well be taking a look at the global smuggling tradethe factors that drive it, and why business is booming just as much as ever.

  • Nearly all transnational criminal syndicates are going to be involved in this in some way, shape, or form.

  • Smuggling has a long and complex history.

  • It's been around for at least as long as the first taxes and regulations on trade.

  • In 18th-century England, it meant tea, opium, silk, and spices.

  • In the 21st, it means illegal drugs and human trafficking gangs.

  • There’s billions of dollars to be made from narco trafficking.

  • Where there’s a will, there’s almost always a way.

  • Things have a knack of getting where the market needs them to be, illicit or otherwise.

  • Contemporary smugglers across the world might traffic anything from tobacco to art, food, exotic animals, narcotics, guns, and even people.

  • Do you really care what youre smuggling, what youre trafficking?

  • It’s about making money quickly.

  • In essence, it’s whatever sells, however unconscionable.

  • In 2019, it was reported that Interpol estimated migrant smuggling one of the most widespread and profitable activities for organized crime in the EU, worth hundreds of billions.

  • Human trafficking is hugely profitable. It's essentially pure profit.

  • Human trafficking victims are generating hundreds or thousands of dollars, and when theyre no longer useful, they're let go.

  • The means differ. Transport might range from sea and air cargo to lorry freight, or maybe just an individual drugs mule loaded with contraband

  • and dropped off at an airport with nothing more than a boarding pass and a pat on the back.

  • Drug traffickers would get people that are called mules, people who would put stuff like cocaine in condoms and swallow the condoms, and then cross the border that way.

  • Some destinations are more popular than others.

  • Ports are naturally favorablethe bigger, the better.

  • It’s easier to sneak through a few illegal containers when hundreds of tons of perfectly legitimate cargo is being processed on a daily basis.

  • Even a global pandemic couldn’t slow down the mass importation of Latin American cocaine shipments into Antwerp, Belgiumnumbers there were even thought to have risen over 2020.

  • So there's a whole kind of industry of people who are devising new ways to get this stuff from production to the actual ports.

  • Every month, kilos of hashish pass through the Strait of Gibraltar, a 13-kilometer stretch of water that separates the very southern tip of Spain from Morocco.

  • Here, smuggling has a long lineage.

  • On the Spanish side sits La Linea, a small, post-industrial city, where youth unemployment sits above 60 percent.

  • The last decade or so has seen a spike of news reports and documentaries declaring it "Costa Del Narcos."

  • Hash, cocaine, tobacco from next door Gibraltarthese are the bedrocks of a black economy with far more opportunities than its legal counterpart.

  • For others, there isn’t even the fig leaf of necessity to point to as justification.

  • In November, reports broke detailing a massive investigation into Portuguese UN peacekeeping troops stationed in the Central African Republic.

  • It’s been alleged that soldiers had been using official military planes to smuggle gold, diamonds, and drugs out of one of the world’s most impoverished but resource rich nations.

  • Portuguese authorities have detained ten suspects. Operation Myriad, as it is known, is the result of a denunciation made at the end of 2019.

  • It was, as Portugal’s foreign minister declared, a very regrettable affair, even if it shouldn’t muddy the nation’s sterling contributions to international security.

  • Uncovered smuggling plots often oscillate between the relentlessly grim to surreal.

  • In 2021, a prominent Spanish art collector narrowly avoided prison time after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle a priceless Picasso out of the country.

  • Jaime Botín claimed he’d merely been transporting it to a Geneva storage facility,

  • an excuse that landed him with a multimillion-euro fine and a jail sentence only overturned on appeal due to ill health.

  • Despite vague cultural notions of romance and adventure, smuggling is anything but a victimless crime.

  • Like any other illicit market with huge potential rewards, it has a huge capacity for violence and exploitation.

  • In recent years, youve seen an increase in the traffic of human beings, of sex workers.

  • That’s, you know, something that’s very profitable for those criminal organizations.

  • Vulnerable migrants forking out huge sums to be trafficked in hope of safety,

  • expendable drug mules paid a pittance to carry narcotics across borders,

  • corrupt soldiers stripping a country of its natural wealth

  • these are some of the real-world scenarios likely unfolding in the time it’s taken you to watch this video.

  • Smuggling is and always has been big business.

  • For the three men arrested in conjunction with the Hong Kong raids, the potential rewards were enormous.

  • The risks, however, were just as great.

  • If found guilty, they could be set to face a lifetime behind bars.

These look suspicious. There are several large packages in the bow.

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How to Smuggle Million Dollar Goods | The Business of Crime

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    Jeff Chiao posted on 2022/03/20
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