Taipei--Kaohsiung Customs officers on Tuesday seized a shipping container of smuggled cigarettes that were estimated to have a market value of about NT$20 million (US$676,000).
The officers said that after checking the shipping list, they became suspicious of a container of goods being transshipped from Singapore and declared as polyethylene.
They then ordered the goods unloaded from the container vessel for inspection. The container was found to contain 900 cartons of cigarettes worth an estimated NT$20 million.
The Ministry of Finance and relevant central and local government agencies have adopted tougher measures to combat cigarette and tobacco smuggling since Oct. 20 last year in anticipation that a law that could double the health surcharge on cigarettes from NT$10 per pack to NT$20 from June 12 could spur smuggling.
To date, more than 6.22 million packs of smuggled cigarettes have been confiscated during the six-month period. In the first half of last month alone, about 1 million packs have been seized, according to the ministry.