Australia. Criminal's cigarette concealment goes up in smoke

Monday, 03 December 2012


Customs and Border Protection has seized more than 10 million cigarettes, illegally imported into Australia.

On Wednesday, 28 November Customs and Border Protection officers examined a sea cargo container, said to contain ceramic tiles. The container was destined for an address in Sydney, New South Wales.

The container was x-rayed and officers immediately noticed anomalies. Officers opened the container and found it to be filled with numerous cartons, estimated to contain over 10 million cigarettes. This represented almost $4 million in evaded revenue. 

Customs and Border Protection National Manager Investigations, Kingsley Woodford-Smith said that the smuggling of tobacco is a serious crime as it defrauds the community of legitimate revenue.

"When officers x-rayed the container, it was immediately apparent that the goods had been intentionally mislabelled, in a poor attempt to avoid paying duty," Mr Woodford-Smith said.

Mr Woodford-Smith said anyone with information about tobacco smuggling should call the Customs Watch number on 1800 06 1800, or report online at www.customs.gov.au/customswatch. You can remain anonymous. 

Recent amendments to the Customs Act have increased the maximum penalty for smuggling such goods. If caught, criminals now face up to 10 years imprisonment or a fine equaling five times the duty evaded, or both.

Last Updated ( Monday, 03 December 2012 )