Macau’s Customs Service said Thursday that its officers had seized 3,700 kg of untaxed tobacco and 2,130,000 untaxed cigarettes amounting to about 1.06 million patacas in unpaid tax.
A customs spokesperson announced the haul to the media in a factory in Ilha Verde, where the untaxed tobacco and cigarettes were discovered by customs officers earlier in the day.
The spokesperson said that customs officers and staff from the Economic Services Bureau (DSE) started checking the city’s factories producing tobacco-related products after seizing about 4,700 kg of untaxed tobacco in May, with the co-operation of their Hong Kong counterparts.
The previously confiscated tobacco was packaged as “selected edible fungi”.
After investigation, the customs officers suspected a factory in Ilha Verde of using untaxed tobacco. Officers swooped on the factory Thursday and found a large quantity of untaxed tobacco and cigarettes, said the spokesperson.
A local businessman in his fifties was taken to the headquarters of the Macau Customs Service for questioning. According to the spokesperson, the suspect failed to provide any documentation to prove that the tobacco and cigarettes found in his factory were legally imported into the city.
The spokesperson added that the man also failed to show the customs officers any legal documentation for exporting the cigarettes, because of which it was believed that all the cigarettes made locally with the untaxed tobacco were sold in Macau.
The spokesperson was quoted by The Macau Post Daily a saying that the authorities would continue investigating although the suspect was released after questioning.
The spokesperson added that anyone found breaking Macau’s External Trade Law faced a fine of 5,000 to 100,000 patacas. There are no prison terms for smuggling in Macau.
Meanwhile, the Macau Customs Service announced in a statement Thursday the seizure of a further 16.3 kg of raw ivory disguised as 277 “chocolate bars”, with an estimated street value of about 280,000 patacas.
This was the second time this week that local customs officers seized raw ivory disguised as “chocolate bars”.(macaunews)