Australian authorities stub out illegal cigarette market

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-15 13:01:24|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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SYDNEY, March 15 (Xinhua) -- A 48-year-old man in Western Australia has faced court on Friday, charged with allegedly smuggling over 810,000 illegal cigarettes, a ton of molasses tobacco and other prohibited products in a shipping container.

According to the Australian Border Force (ABF), the value of the evaded tax is estimated to be around 1.8 million Australian dollars (1.4 million U.S. dollars).

Officers first became suspicious when X-ray anomalies were detected in a consignment that arrived from India.

Suspicious were then confirmed when an ABF detector dog indicated the presence of tobacco in the container.

Worth around 600 million Australian dollars (425 million U.S. dollars) per year, "these seizures will put a significant dent in the supply of illicit tobacco in Western Australia," ABF acting Regional Commander for Western Australia Emma Newman said.

"People who engage in this kind of behaviour, whether it's growing, importing, supplying or buying black market tobacco, not only put money into the hands of organized crime, but take away potential tax dollars from the Australian community," she said.

"Tobacco smuggling also seriously impacts retailers who abide by the law," she said.

"Targeting and dismantling this criminal activity is an operational priority for the ABF. We will find those who participate in this illegal trade, and hold them to account," she added.

The ABF are also investigating a similar shipment carrying 480,000 cigarettes and 1.6 ton of molasses tobacco which arrived on March 6 from India to the same consignee in Perth.

If found guilty, the man faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment under the Australian law.