Chinese customs said Monday that local authorities had taken action against 27 gangs suspected of smuggling a total of around 300,000 tons of rice.
The General Administration of Customs (GAC) Monday morning dispatched over 400 police officers to more than 20 locations in Chongqing Municipality and the provinces of Yunnan, Guangdong, Hubei and Shaanxi in a unified rice smuggling campaign.
By 9 a.m., police had caught 39 suspects and seized more than 2,000 tons of rice suspected of being smuggled, the administration said.
It estimated that the cases would involve a combined total of 300,000 tons of smuggled rice worth about 1.25 billion yuan (184 million U.S. dollars).
Preliminary investigations showed that since 2014, the gangs had purchased rice in Myanmar and Vietnam before smuggling it across the borders into Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to the GAC.