Macau and Zhongshan bust tobacco smuggling ring

Macau Customs and law enforcement departments in Zhongshan City in neighbouring Guangdong Province recently launched a joint operation in tackling the trade in illegal tobacco and raided several illegal shops, confiscating a large quantity of cigarettes and cigars, on which tax had been evaded. The goods in both places were valued at around MOP10 million, Customs announced on Friday.
Macau Customs said that they were tipped off by their Zhongshan counterparts. The Mainland authorities have been tackling the trafficking of illegal tobacco since the beginning of April, confiscating large quantities of illegally imported tobacco suspected to have come from Macau.
The two sides launched a joint operation through intelligence exchange, with inspections conducted in both places. Zhongshan authorities seized more than 90,000 cigars. Officers from the Macau Customs and the Tobacco Control Office of the Health Bureau raided 39 locations in Macau last Thursday. In six of them, officers found 25,000 cigarettes and 1,800 cigars, on which duty had not been paid or that violated packaging regulations under the new Tobacco Control Law.
The Customs said after a preliminary investigation that the shops in question had violated the Foreign Trade Law for importing and exporting goods to or from Macau without a proper licence. The violation is punishable by a maximum of MOP100,000 with the confiscated goods belonging to the SAR. Customs say they will initiate the administrative prosecutions.
In addition, since the tobacco was not labelled and packaged in accordance with Macau’s new Tobacco Control Law, the Health Bureau will fine these shops for the violation.
Customs added that a specialist sent by Zhongshan authorities to assist has not found any fake or pirated products. However, if any fake or pirated products are found, the suspects would be prosecuted on criminal charges.
J.K.