Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Customs Arrests Auckland Man For Attempting To Smuggle 2.2 Million Cigarettes

A 30-year-old Malaysian national was scheduled to appear in the Auckland District Court this afternoon, after Customs arrested him today for attempting to smuggle 2.2 million cigarettes and evade $2.72 million in duty and GST.

This is Customs’ largest-ever tobacco seizure at the border in a single shipment. The man faces charges under the Customs & Excise Act for defrauding Customs revenue and making an erroneous import entry. The investigation is ongoing and further charges are likely.

Intelligence and risk profiling by Customs identified the shipment that was sent from Malaysia and arrived in New Zealand in mid-July 2020. The shipment was declared to contain 175 ‘roof extension units’, but a detailed examination by Customs officers found that the stacks of metal frames hid cigarette cartons, comprising 2,208,000 cigarettes.

The shipment was imported under a registered trading company, of which the man is the sole director. Customs investigators executed search warrants at his home and business addresses this morning, resulting in the arrest and further evidence relating to the offending.

Customs’ Group Manager of Intelligence, Investigations & Enforcement, Dana McDonald, says this seizure is the result of solid intelligence, followed by thorough investigative and inspections work by Customs officers, and is yet another example of organised crime involvement in tobacco fraud.

“This shipment showed a layer of sophistication in its concealment, and a deliberate attempt to evade tobacco taxes. This does not come as a surprise, as Customs has been making increasing number of tobacco seizures in recent years that bear the hallmarks of organised crime.

“Criminals will do whatever they can to make money, regardless of the commodity – it’s just business for them. With cigarette prices in New Zealand amongst the highest globally, tobacco fraud is seen as a lucrative business venture for criminals, and sadly we expect this trend to continue.

“The public can be assured that Customs will continue to make significant efforts to prevent criminal activity and hold offenders to account so they stop their illegal activities.”

From January to June 2020, Customs made 227 tobacco interceptions at the border, including 422 kgs of tobacco and close to 1.2 million cigarettes or cigars. This latest seizure means Customs has now intercepted more than 3.4 million cigarettes at the border in 2020.

Customs’ previous largest seizure of tobacco in a single shipment was 340,000 cigarettes in late-2018. That investigation linked multiple imports, spanning several years, and an Auckland businessman was recently convicted for smuggling 19.4 million cigarettes and evading over $18.7 million in duty and GST. The businessman was sentenced to 5 years and 3 months’ imprisonment.

If you have suspicions about someone involved in smuggling cigarettes illegally, call 0800 4 CUSTOMS (0800 428 786) in confidence, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Political Twins, And On Labour Extending Its Wage Subsidy Scheme

A quick quiz for the weekend. Which political party currently represented in Parliament issued a press release yesterday that contained these stirring passages:
“[We have] long supported a free trade and free movement area between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom…on trade, immigration and investment, New Zealand must favour countries who share our values. New Zealand must do its part to reinforce freedom and democracy around the world by diversifying our markets and building stronger relationships with those who share our values... More>>


Parliament Adjourns: Adjournment Debate: Speaker Trevor Mallard

The 52 Parliament has sat for the last time before the September Election. It sat for 245 days... More>>


E-Cigarettes: Vaping Legislation Passes

Landmark legislation passed today puts New Zealand on track to saving thousands of lives and having a smokefree generation sooner rather than later, Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa says. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) ... More>>


National: $4 Billion Investment To End Wellington’s Congestion Woes

A National Government will invest another $4 billion in transport infrastructure across Wellington, igniting the economy and delivering the congestion-busting solutions the region has long been crying out for, National Party Leader Judith Collins says. ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Virtues (and Fluffed Opportunities) Of The Operation Burnham Report

One unspoken rule of thumb in any official public inquiry is : whatever you do, don’t conclude you were made to listen to “a litany of lies” even if the evidence of a deliberate cover-up is right there under your nose. In that respect, the report ... More>>


Horizon Research Limited: How Judith Collins Stopped The Bleeding

Horizon Research includes questions on voting from time to time in its surveys – for both forthcoming referenda and general elections. More>>

Your Vote 2020: Bringing Election Coverage To Viewers Across TVNZ Channels And Platforms

As New Zealand gets ready to head to the ballot box this September, 1 NEWS is bringing voters comprehensive coverage and analysis of this year’s General Election. TVNZ’s coverage will draw on the depth of experience held across the 1 NEWS team, says Graeme ... More>>

Economy: 30% Believe Households Worse Off, 298,000 Expect To Lose Jobs

64% of New Zealanders feel the economic position of their households is the same or better than a year ago – and 30% think it is worse or much worse, while 298,000 think they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Households’ perceptions ... More>>

State Services Commission: Findings Of Investigation Into COVID-19 Active Cases Privacy Breach

Deputy State Services Commissioner Helene Quilter has today announced the findings of an investigation into a breach of privacy regarding sensitive personal information. The investigation looked into who or what caused the disclosure of the information, ... More>>

International Security: New Zealand Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

The New Zealand Government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. More>>






InfoPages News Channels