During the first six months of this year, the officials of the SRS National Customs Board have prevented the smuggling of a total of 54 million cigarettes. Compared to the first half of 2017, the amount of cigarettes seized as the result of control measures carried out at customs control points increased by 29%.
During the first half of this year, the largest share of smuggled cigarettes, i.e., 32.1 million pcs., was seized as a result of railway cargo inspections. Inter alia, on 5 March a.c., customs officials in co-operation with colleagues from the State Border Guard found hidden compartments especially constructed in six railway containers, wherein 26.39 million cigarettes “Fest” and “NZ Gold” with Belarusian excise duty stamps were located. Similarly to previous years, this year there was made an attempt to illegally bring in cigarettes by burying them in coal, by attaching packages to the structures of the train by means of strong magnets, and by hiding them in ventilation shafts or wagons with bulk cargo, e.g., under wood chips, grain, etc. Other cases of illegal transportation of cigarettes were exposed by carrying out control measures at road and port customs control points.
Approximately 55% of all cigarettes seized as the result of customs control during the first six months of this year had Belarusian excise duty stamps on them, 42% had no excise duty stamps at all.
By carrying out customs control measures, 357 cases of illegal transportation of cigarettes were exposed during the first half of 2018. Materials of 44 administrative violation cases were transferred to the SRS Tax and Customs Police Department for adopting a decision on the initiation of criminal proceedings.
Customs authorities constantly improve control mechanisms by improving the quality of control. The fight against the smuggling of cigarettes is facilitated by the possibility of using appropriate technical equipment: currently, vehicle and container scanners are used in all state road and railway border-crossing points on the border with Belarus and Russia, reducing the possibilities of smuggling cigarettes.