Around 1.8m cigarettes destined for NZ’s Chinese community, $2m cash seized by Customs as part of six-month investigation

By November 30, 2018 Recent News

TVNZ One News 28 November 2018
An Auckland businessman has been arrested while attempting to flee the country after around 1.8 million smuggled cigarettes and over $2 million in cash was seized as part of a six-month New Zealand Customs investigation, the agency said today.

Multiple properties, two luxury cars and bank accounts have also been seized by police as part of the investigation.

He was arrested by Customs investigators at Auckland Airport last Wednesday, and has since been charged with defrauding Customs revenue.

The man may face a maximum of five years in jail and/or a $20,000 fine as part of Customs Act changes enacted last month, Customs investigations manager Bruce Berry said.

It’s understood the cigarettes were being sold to the Chinese community and businesses over a number of years and that the cartons had been brought into the country over time in shipping containers, Mr Berry said.

The investigation is ongoing and further charges and arrests are likely.