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 Australia's Superior Ways Of Communicating About Its Vaccine Rollout

It isn’t only on the cricket field that Australia performs better. The clarity and degree of detail in Australia’s published schedule of the priorities for its vaccine rollout has been very impressive. Here for instance, is their initial “1a” top priority category: Quarantine and border workers, including: staff at entry points to the country (such as sea ports and land borders)... More>>


Joint Press Release: Dirty PR Exposed In Whale Oil Defamation Trial

Three public health advocates are relieved that their long-standing Whale Oil defamation trial against Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham, Katherine Rich and the Food and Grocery Council has finally concluded and they are pleased that the truth has come out... More>>


Government: Next Stage Of COVID-19 Support For Business And Workers

The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend... More>>


Government: PHARMAC Review Announced

The Government is following through on an election promise to conduct an independent review into PHARMAC, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little announced today... More>>


Government: Balanced Economic Approach Reflected In Crown Accounts

New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected.
The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU)... More>>

Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>




InfoPages News Channels