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Monthly Archives: May 2012
by Rosa Ramirez
As the most high-profile international collaboration, WikiLeaks offers some interesting lessons about working with news organizations abroad. But it can be difficult to untangle those lessons from the drama that surrounded the story. And frankly, very few media organizations could pull off a similar effort.
But there’s another international collaboration that has some lessons to share and is less tangled. The Center for Public Integrity’s international collaboration, titled “Tobacco Underground,” was a series of stories written by journalists from Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and the United States. The project found that monies from illegal tobacco sales are helping fund terrorist groups, human trafficking, and getting thousands hooked on tobacco.
From: Medill Reports (written and produced by graduate journalism students at Northwestern University’s Medill school.)
by LiLi Tan
I don’t buy cigarettes in Chicago. It’s $10 a pack here,” said Murat Kabile, 25, a DePaul University student, who admitted he buys his cigarettes in another county southwest of Cook.
If, however, Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposed cigarette tax-hike passes the Senate, Kabile may have to look further, even out of state, to buy his cigarettes at a more affordable price.
Last week, the House approved the legislation in a 60-52 vote to raise cigarette prices by $1 as a public health measure to curb smoking rates and to help fund Medicaid shortfalls.
From: The Morning Call
There was good news a couple of days ago for Kiwi smokers. A plan to increase cigarette prices to $100 a pack ($75 U.S.) has been scrapped, and they will have to pay only $20 a pack ($15 U.S.) by 2016.
New Zealand, already with some of the highest prices in the world, has drastically reduced smoking, from 30 percent of adults in 1986 to about 20 percent now, and officials hope to completely eliminate the filthy habit by 2025.
From: This is Lancashire
CUSTOMS investigators have seized a massive haul of 200,000 cigarettes and 300kg of tobacco — believed to be smuggled or counterfeit — in an alleged duty-evasion scam.
HM Revenue and Customs officials believe that £75,000 of excise duty was dodged in the operation.
Two men were caught transferring the cigarettes and tobacco from one van to another in Pendlebury Fold, Hunger Hill, at 7.30pm on Thursday.
When the officials interrupted the transfer, they found nearly 300kg of hand rolling tobacco and 200,000 cigarettes, along with a “large quantity” of cash.
From: This is Surrey Today
A MAN from Surrey was among nine men arrested by officers investigating millions of pounds worth of drug and cigarette smuggling at a Heathrow freight warehouse.
The arrests were made on Friday (May 25) after around 90 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers searched the Heathrow warehouse, homes and businesses as part of Operation Bypass.
Eight residential and three business properties in Frimley in Surrey; Southall, Stanmore and West Drayton in Middlesex; High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and Luton in Bedfordshire were searched as part of the enquiry.
By PIA TALWAR Capital News Service
RICHMOND, Va. – You soon will face state fines and criminal charges if you buy large quantities of cigarettes in Virginia intending to resell them in state with a higher tobacco tax.
Beginning July 1, a new state law targets people “who possesses, with intent to distribute, more than 5,000 (25 cartons) tax-paid cigarettes.” Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor and would face a civil penalty of up to $5,000 for a first offense, $10,000 for a second offense and $50,000 for subsequent offenses.
From: The Riverdale Press
By Sarina Trangle
Law enforcement officials have arrested two Yonkers men they say used 3175 Irwin Ave. as a “stash house” for thousands of untaxed cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco tax stamps.
Nabilh Alghazali, 52, and Mohamed Elgazali, 42, were arrested on May 18, for allegedly attempting to resell 30,000 cigarettes without paying the $6.46-a-pack tax and using counterfeit tax stamps to evade more than $10,000 in tobacco taxes during the past year, law enforcement officials said.
The raid on the Irwin Avenue home yielded 1,454 untaxed cartons — which contain ten packs of cigarettes apiece — and 90,240 counterfeit tax stamps, according to court documents.
From: NACS Online
In May alone nearly 25,000 cartons of contraband tobacco were seized before they could hit the Canadian market.
CORNWALL, Ontario – Criminals who are attempting to contribute to the proliferation of contraband tobacco in Canada are being stopped in their tracks.
While conducting land and marine patrols along the St. Lawrence River on May 15, Cornwall Regional Task Force (CRTF) members observed two males onboard a boat near Grassy Island. As CRTF marine operators approached the vessel to investigate, the individuals began to throw garbage bags overboard before fleeing towards Akwesasne, Quebec. CRTF members recovered 436.8 kg of fine cut tobacco from the river.
From: The Northern Echo
By Gavin Engelbrecht
TWO former North-East police officers were part of a sophisticated criminal gang behind a cigarette smuggling operation that spanned the globe, a jury was told yesterday.
Gary Thompson, 43, and Anthony Lamb, 48, who previously served with Cleveland Police, used their knowledge of law enforcement and forensic techniques to avoid paying up to £11m in cigarette duty, a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court was told.
The gang cloned identities of innocent people and hijacked the names of legitimate companies to foil a shipping agency and the taxman.
Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Hong Kong Customs today (May 15) detected a cross-boundary smuggling case of illicit cigarettes at Lok Ma Chau Control Point. In an inbound goods vehicle, a total of 133 boxes containing about 1 million sticks of duty-not-paid cigarettes were found. The total value is about $2.5 million with a duty potential of $1.7 million.
In the operation, a 54-year-old man was arrested and the goods vehicle was seized.