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Chinese break up illegal waste smuggling gangs

Chinese authorities in Guangdong have seized 80,000 tonnes of smuggled solid waste and claimed to have broken up five organised criminal gangs.

In what has been described officially as a major crackdown, a 172-strong team, consisting of officers from customs, environmental protection, inspection and quarantine, and industry & commerce, raided 16 warehouses across the city.

The seized goods, primarily plastics and metals, were said to have a value of RMB1bn (£115m). There was no information about the source of the materials.

Footage of the raids, including arrests, was shown on Chinese TV. Suspects were said to be illegally using third-party import permits.

A spokesman for customs said the government departments involved in the joint action “will continue to work coherently and strengthen efforts to fight against solid waste smuggling”.

The initiative was prompted by the National Sword action plan introduced earlier this year to combat illegal waste imports and other types of smuggling.

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