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Monthly Archives: March 2012
From: The Flat Hat (College of William & Mary)
According to the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily, the Virginia legislature commissioned a study that would examine cigarette smuggling in the state. Virginia levies a 30 cent tax per pack of cigarettes, the second lowest in the nation behind Missouri which collects 17 cents per pack. The low rate has resulted in a sizable black market of Virginia-purchased cigarettes in neighboring states with much higher taxes such as Maryland ($2 per pack), New Jersey ($2.70 per pack), D.C. ($2.50 per pack), and New York ($4.35 per pack).
LAST year tax authority Hacienda missed out on €1,279 million in duty on contraband tobacco, not to mention VAT.
High taxes on tobacco encourage smuggling, the tobacco companies claim, although Spanish experts disagree.
The economic crisis is responsible for first drop in tobacco revenue for 25 years as thousands turned to smuggling to make ends meet, they said.
A common entry points for contraband tobacco is Gibraltar, where a carton of cigarettes costs €25 compared to €42 in Spain.
There is 40 per cent unemployment in La Linea and residents bringing in the cheaper product can make a profit either by selling it themselves or working for others.
From: Malaya Business Insight
CIGARETTE smuggling has now become a major security concern for many countries because terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda are turning to this illicit trade to finance their criminal activities, according to a study done b by a global non-profit tax research foundation.
Citing findings by the US Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco (AFT), the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC) reported that “organized” criminal groups, including those with ties to terrorist organizations, are engaged in illegal trafficking of alcohol and tobacco products, including counterfeit tobacco products.”
Chemicals causing additional health problems are present in illicit cigarette brands, new government research claims
Cigarettes smuggled into Egypt include chemicals that can further heighten the risk of cancer for smokers, claims a new study by the National Research Centre (NRC).
Egypt’s largest cigarette-maker, Eastern Company, commissioned the Cairo-based NRC to examine the components of smuggled cigarettes which typically retail for less than half the price of licenced brands.
Made outside the country then brought in illegally, bypassing tax and health regulations, such cigarettes are estimated to make up 20 per cent of Egypt’s market, British American Tobacco said recently.
NRC’s study include 10 smuggled brands, including ‘Malimbo’, ‘MJ’ and ‘Roseman’.
The centre subsequently issued a letter to “whom it may concern” indicating that one particular component they found could “lead to irregularities in cell split which increases the possibility of developing malignancy”.
Another component causing “harmful effects to the neurosystem” was also identified by Egypt’s largest governmental research body.
Consumers interviewed by Ahram Online, however, were dismissive of such findings.
Mahmoud El-Shazly, in his early 40s, had since his teenage years smoked Cleopatras, Egypt’s most popular cigarette, made by the state-owned Eastern Company.
Nine months ago he shifted to Malimbo. He totally dismissed claims about the “extra-harmful” side-effects of his new choice.
“They keep on saying it causes all sorts of bad stuff but that’s not true,” the public worker insisted. “This cigarette tastes better and it’s much cheaper.”
Malimbo typically sells at LE4 per pack while Cleopatra retails for LE7.
Cigarette smuggling has surged since the outbreak of Egypt’s uprising in January 2011 and the partial collapse of former president Hosni Mubarak’s security forces.
Only three companies are licenced to make and sell cigarettes in Egypt; the current market leader Eastern Company, British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International.
In a move to combat cigarette smuggling, Egypt’s government said last week that all local cigarette manufacturers would be obliged to stamp their products by the beginning of June.
Company officials, however, say such efforts will do little to solve the problem that has cost them precious market share.
By Hugh Morris
A CAMPAIGN to stop illegal tobacco being sold to children at “pocket money prices” across the region will be launched next month.
The first effort in the east of England to clamp down on bootleg, smuggled and counterfeit tobacco will target the criminals who sell the cigarettes for as little as £2.75 for a 20-pack, as well as trying to educate young people about the dangers of fake tobacco.
BY PHILIP DEVENCENTIS
OAKLAND — Police seized more than 60 cartons of contraband cigarettes from a local convenience store, whose owner has been charged with selling them.
Jitendra Hirpara, 46, of Catherine Avenue in Mahwah, who owns Oakland Mini Mart, at 453 Ramapo Valley Road, was arrested on Feb. 22 following an investigation that stemmed from reports of customers who suspected illegal cigarette sales.
Hirpara was released on his own recognizance and was arraigned in municipal court on Feb. 23. The case was transferred to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
US District Court Judge Sue Robinson sentenced 54 year old Su Lian Wu to 8 months in prison. Officials say on 6 different occasions between April and December of 2010 the six brought from New York City to Delaware 2580 cartons of counterfeit cigarettes, which were imported from China. They looked like the real thing and had counterfeit state tax stamps. The counterfeit cigarettes were sold to special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – not to the general public. Her husband and son were also arrested – and served 11 months each. Their sentences were higher than the other three because they had direct contact with the source of the bogus cigarettes.
MONTREAL – The RCMP joined provincial and local police to dismantle a massive contraband tobacco ring in Quebec, arresting at least 20 people including a fire chief.
Arrest warrants targeted a total of 30 suspects in at least 10 municipalities as more than 250 officers, including search dogs and a SWAT team, fanned out across southwestern Quebec on Wednesday morning.
The bust targeted smugglers who allegedly sold tobacco and small cigars manufactured in Akwesasne, a Mohawk reserve that straddles Quebec, Ontario and New York State.
Four firefighters from Godmanchester, Que., were rounded up, including operations chief Andrew McDonald, provincial police said Wednesday.
Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Hong Kong Customs today (March 20) swooped on an illicit cigarette smuggling syndicate in Sai Kung.On board a lorry and a van, a total of 87 boxes containing about 1.04 million sticks of duty-not-paid cigarette were found.The total value is about $2.6 million with a duty potential of about $1.7 million.In the operation, three men (aged from 21 to 34) were arrested, a lorry and a van were seized.
From: This is Nottingham
A£71,000 campaign to target illegal counterfeit cigarettes is to be launched in the city.
Nottingham Trading Standards have been awarded the funding from the Department Of Health to tackle “fag houses” which sell fake branded cigarettes to children aged 12 or younger on city estates.
The campaign will also encourage people to come forward anonymously to identify sellers and distributors.
A bus and poster campaign costing £36,000 will be launched as part of the campaign to highlight ways people can pass on information.