Kaohsiung-A shipping container of smuggled cigarettes estimated to have a market value of about NT$25 million (US$852,500) was seized at the Port of Kaohsiung on Tuesday, customs officials said.
A recent review of shipping lists raised suspicions about a container being shipped from Busan Port in South Korea and registered as newspaper printing paper, set to be delivered to a newly established company, the officials said.
Customs officials together with agents from the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau ordered the container be opened for inspection when it arrived at Kaohsiung Port.
The 40-foot shipping container was found to contain about 500,000 packs of cigarettes, said to be the popular brands "Maple" and "King" and worth an estimated NT$25 million.
Several shipments of smuggled cigarettes have been seized at the southern port since October. On Oct. 12, Kaohsiung customs officers seized 11,300 boxes of smuggled cigarettes worth about NT$250 million, and on the following day intercepted a shipment of 900 boxes valued at NT$20 million, customs officers said.
On Oct. 17, a shipment of smuggled cigarettes valued at about NT$20 million was uncovered, according to the officers.
The Ministry of Finance and relevant central and local government agencies adopted tougher measures to combat cigarette and tobacco smuggling on Oct. 20, 2016, in anticipation that a law increasing the health surcharge on cigarettes from NT$10 to NT$20 per pack in June that year would spur smuggling.
The case is currently under investigation.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel