Cigarette smuggling costs Perth man close to $20,000

A 32 year-old man who was caught by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers trying to smuggle 45 cartons of cigarettes through Perth International Airport has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling almost $20,000.

The Perth Magistrates Court heard the man bought the cigarettes at a duty free shop in Dubai on his way home from Europe, in what was described as an unsophisticated, but deliberate, attempt to avoid paying duty of over $6,200.

The FIFO worker from Victoria Park recently pleaded guilty to the following charges:

◦One count of smuggling cigarettes under section 233(1)(a) of the Customs Act 1901 (the Act)

◦One count of evading duty payable under section 234(1)(a) of the Act

◦One count of making false or misleading statements to an officer of Customs under section 234(1)(d)(i) of the Act.

The man had declared on his Incoming Passenger Card (IPC) that he was not bringing into Australia more than the maximum allowance of 25 cigarettes, when in fact he had 9,000 sticks.

He was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling $19,574.44.

ABF Regional Commander for WA, Rod O’Donnell, said the man was a regular traveller and was well aware what he was doing was illegal.

“Tobacco smuggling is one of the ABF’s operational priorities – whether it be by organised crime syndicates, local profiteers or individuals stockpiling,” Commander O’Donnell said.

“The ABF has the commitment and the means to detect even small amounts of smuggled cigarettes and tobacco, and the consequences for those caught can be very severe.”

Last financial year the ABF made more than 110,000 detections of illicit tobacco at the border, including almost 240 million cigarettes and 217 tonnes of tobacco, worth more than $356 million in evaded duty.

Consumers and importers should also note that new tobacco import requirements come into effect from 1 July 2019, making it illegal for anyone to import tobacco without a permit, or in contravention of permit conditions.

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