Customs officers say they arrested five men after seizing 35 tonnes of frozen meat on a boat in waters off Lantau on Thursday.
Officers said on Friday that they suspect the HK$5.2 million haul, which included pig maw and tripe, was being smuggled to the mainland ahead of Chinese New Year.
They said the cargo vessel was intercepted as the meat was about to be transferred to a speedboat, which sped off into mainland waters when officers took action.
Senior investigator Wong Chi-keung said smugglers are now making sure they have a greater chance of escaping law enforcement officers.
“To reduce their losses, smuggling syndicates now use vessels with higher mobility," he said.
Wong said he was worried about the quality of the meat being transported, saying there were no freezing facilities on the boat stopped on Thursday.