$136,000 watch catches border guard's attention
A man who smuggled a $136,961 watch into Canada without paying his duties, was fined more than $14,000 in Richmond provincial court on Tuesday.
Zuo Qing Huang pled guilty to possession of goods unlawfully imported contrary to the Customs Act.
He returned to Canada following a Hong Kong trip, and was referred for a secondary examination at Vancouver International Airport.
That's where a Canada Border Services Agency officer asked him about the origin of the Breguet watch he was wearing.
Huang said he initially got it from a friend as a payment for a gambling debt prior to immigrating to Canada.
Huang then claimed his friend sold the watch to a pawn shop, and that he bought if back for 7,000 Hong Kong dollars.
Eventually, Huang admitted he received the watch from a friend as a payment for a 200,000 Hong Kong dollar gambling debt.
Huang said he previously imported the watch, but had not declared it because it was not new.
After appraisal, the watch was deemed to be worth $136,961.45.
He was fined an amount equal to the duties and taxes he evaded, some $14,038.55.
Before getting his watch back, Huang will have to pay a penalty of between 25 and 80 per cent of the value of the seized good.
And that could amount to as much as $109,000.
Canada Border Services spokesperson Stefanie Wudel added: "If a traveller does not properly declare his or her goods upon the initial importation into Canada, the goods are still subject to enforcement action as well as any duties and taxes