Chinese 'smugglers' build tunnel to Hong Kong

Forty metre tunnel had concrete walls, ventilation and even interior lighting

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The Independent Online

Chinese authorities have discovered a tunnel they suspect was used for smuggling goods running from a garage near the city of Shenzhen and into Hong Kong.

The 40 metre tunnel featured concrete walls, ventilation, interior lighting and was concealed by a river running above it. The tunnel is thought to have been 20 metres short of completion and measured 0.8 metres wide and one metre high.

According to the South China Morning Post, it is estimated to have cost three million yuan (£300,000) and taken four months to build. 

It was discovered by authorities in the Changling village on the outskirts of Shenzhen, when a resident complained about hearing drilling noises she thought were part of a renovation project. Once inside, police discovered drilling tools and even rails that could have been used to transport goods on.

Hong Kong officals said they had been notified of the tunnel. "We will step up patrol of the border area," a Hong Kong police woman told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. 

The authorities believe gangs intended to use it to move mobile phones, tablets and other electrical goods into Hong Kong to avoid border taxes and fees, as Hong Kong and the mainland have different tariffs.

The tunnel, described by authorities as "professional", was destroyed on Tuesday and a man has been arrested in connection with the event.

This is not the first time findings such as this have been made. In 2003, Chinese authorities found a tunnel beneath an apartment building at the border that reached 25 metres into Hong Kong's territory.