A man who tried to smuggle a $136,961 Breguet watch into Canada from China has been fined $14,000 in Richmond provincial court and could have to pay more than $100,000 to get it back.
Zuo Qing Huang pled guilty to possession of goods unlawfully imported contrary to the Customs Act on Tuesday, after returning from a trip to Hong Kong. It was on the return from this trip that Canada Border Service Agency officers at Vancouver International Airport began to question the true origin of the flashy wristwatch.
Huang originally claimed it was given to him by a friend in China as payment for an outstanding gambling debt, but then switched his story, saying his friend sold it to a pawn shop and Huang had bought it back for 7000 Hong Kong dollars ($996 CAD). But when pressed by border agents, Huang eventually came clean, admitting the watch had been used to pay off 200,000 HK$ ($28,475 CAD) he was owed for gambling.
Huang said he believed he didn’t need to claim the watch because he’d brought it with him into the country in the past.
Before he’s able to get his watch back, Huang will need to pay a penalty of 25 to 80 percent of the watch’s value. Because the watch was independently appraised at $136,961, that means Huang will have to pay between $34,240 and $109,568 to simply get it back.
Featured Image: Canada Border Services