A Million Cigarettes in Airfreight

The ABF and ITTF have thwarted a brazen attempt to import over a million cigarettes (5,000 cartons) in an airfreight consignment from Korea misdeclared as mini-massagers.


The Australian Government’s Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF), led by the Australian Border Force (ABF) has detected more than one million cigarettes in an air cargo shipment from South Korea declared as ‘mini massagers’.

On 19th October, Customs officers targeted the consignment for examination and, on inspection, found it to be contrary to the declaration, containing instead 5,000 cartons of cigarettes.

A total of 1,094,000 cigarettes were seized, weighing more than 1 tonne, which represents more than $1.1 million in evaded duty and GST. Apart from the false declaration, the shipper had made no effort to conceal the cigarettes in a brazen attempt to flout Australian law.

On 1st July 2019, it became illegal for anyone to import tobacco without a permit, or in contravention of permit conditions. Tobacco can also no longer be imported through the mail. The new regulations are intended to be a further deterrent to the trade in illicit tobacco, which funds serious and organised crime within our community.

The ABF wants Australians who buy illicit tobacco to be aware that the proceeds of these sales are supporting a market dominated by criminal syndicates that use the profits to fund other illegal activities. Border Force officers are well versed in the various methods tobacco and cigarette smugglers use to attempt to circumvent Australia’s air and sea border controls.

Investigations into the people behind the attempted importation are ongoing. The maximum penalty for tobacco smuggling is 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded.

As your licensed Customs Brokers and International freight forwarder, Alliance Intercontinental can attend to the clearance of your air & sea cargo and provide correct advice on import formalities. We offer assistance on all your international trade and shipping needs in and out of Australia.


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