Hong Kong Customs invokes tobacco limits for inbound travellers

Click here to read the letter spelling out the new measures

HONG KONG. Hong Kong Customs & Excise today spelled out its new measures on duty free tobacco allowances for inbound travellers, effective 1 August.

It said that the Government of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong will implement the new measure from that date on all tobacco products brought in by passengers [a letter from Hong Kong Customs and the relevant amendment legislation are shown on this page].

The announcement follows the government’s budget for 2010/2011 yesterday, revealed in February, when Financial Secretary John Tsang said: “For public health reasons, I increased tobacco duty substantially by +50% last year.

Click here to read the official annex to the regulations

“This year I propose to abolish the duty free concessions on tobacco products for incoming passengers.

“To facilitate law enforcement, small amounts of tobacco products for own consumption will be exempted.”

Under the new restrictions, incoming passengers who are 18 or above may only bring in the following tobacco
products for their own use free of duty in quantities not more than below –

(a) 19 cigarettes; or
(b) 1 cigar, or 25 grams of cigars; or
(c) 25 grams of other manufactured tobacco.

The department said: “The above new measure aims to reduce the public’s access to duty free tobacco with the aim to better protect public health, while it also facilitates smoker passengers who may have carried with them a small quantity of unconsumed tobacco products when entering Hong Kong.”

The limits (see Annex) apply to those passengers entering Hong Kong by any ship, aircraft, train or vehicle or to tobacco bought by passengers for their own use at a licensed warehouse located at any place approved by the Commissioner in the arrival area at an entry point in Hong Kong.

The measures will have significant repercussions not only for Hong Kong travel retailers serving inbound passengers at their Arrival shops but also those abroad selling tobacco to Hong Kong-bound passengers.

Inbound duty free allowances in Hong Kong had previously been slashed in April 2007 from 200 to 60 sticks (or 15 cigars or 75 grams of other manufactured tobacco) per person.


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