JINAN: Customs officials in the east China port city of Qingdao, Shandong Province, have smashed a charcoal smuggling gang that illegally exported charcoal disguised as garments to Japan and the Republic of Korea.
The anti-smuggling police of Qingdao customs have apprehended 11 suspects and seized 100 tonnes of charcoal on the spot.
The customs officers said the gang has smuggled over 700 tonnes of charcoal produced from hardwood, the equivalent to burning at least 3,500 tonnes of timber, which is estimated to deforest an area of 110 hectares.
China imposed an export ban on wood charcoal in 2004. Smuggling over 10 tonnes of the cargo is a criminal offense in the country.