In a radio program on Sunday, Ho said that many control points have been suspended for nearly two years since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Passenger clearance continues at Hong Kong International Airport, Shenzhen Bay and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge border points, while those at Lo Wu, Hung Hom, Lok Ma Chau, Lok Ma Chau spur line, Man Kam To, Sha Tau Kok, ferry terminals and express rail are suspended. All land-based cargo clearance remains normal.

"To cope with the huge workload following resumption of cross-border travel in the future, the department is gradually adjusting its manpower,” she said.

“Staff deployed earlier to inspect cargo will be sent back to control points. We also stepped up training and equipment testing," Ho said.

The total amount and value of goods seized by the customs reach a record high last year, which the chief said had to do with huge demand for products on the mainland.

"Most of the smuggled goods are frozen meat, plus new electronic products such as cell phones," she said.

Last week, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor voiced optimism of reopening borders with the mainland soon.

It was said that Beijing had wanted to start quarantine-free travel last year as a Christmas gift for Hongkongers. But the plan did not go through after fresh outbreaks on the mainland and the new Omicron threat.