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Cigarette overkill – airline crewmember refused entry

October 5, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

A 50-year-old woman working as an airline crewmember has been refused entry to Australia after being caught by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers attempting to smuggle 10 cartons of cigarettes through a major Australian airport.

The flight attendant, an Indonesian national, arrived on a flight from Denpasar to Perth late Tuesday night. Along with other crewmembers she was directed to the ABF’s secondary examination area where their baggage was to be X-rayed.

A female ABF officer observed the crewmember enter a toilet block before her bag was screened where she was caught dumping a number of cartons of cigarettes into a bin.

A total of 10 cartons of cigarettes were seized (2000 cigarettes). The duty evaded was approximately AUD 1700. The maximum allowance for cigarettes being brought into Australia is 25 cigarettes.

The woman’s visa was cancelled and she was removed on a flight back to Indonesia yesterday morning.

ABF Regional Commander for WA, Rod O’Donnell, said ABF officers were on the lookout for people attempting to bring more than their duty free allowance of cigarettes and tobacco across the border.

“It is important to note that ABF intervention extends to all travellers crossing the border, including airline crew members, who are not above the law,” Commander O’Donnell said.

The cigarette haul – Marlboro seems to be the preferred brand

“Tobacco smuggling is one of the ABF’s operational priorities, whether it be by organised crime syndicates or individual profiteers such as in this case.”

In July a 47-year-old Australian man was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling just under AUD 35,000 after being caught by the ABF attempting to smuggle almost 40 cartons of cigarettes through Perth Airport.

“Our officers have the commitment and the means to detect even small amounts of smuggled cigarettes and tobacco, and the consequences for those caught can be severe,” Commander O’Donnell said.

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 AUD 356 million in evaded duty.

Edited by Peter Needham

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