MACAU: Macau Customs Service authorities seized roughly 12,000 duty-free cigarettes yesterday morning at different checkpoints in the city after the region’s new tobacco tax bill, which allows people to bring fewer duty-free cigarettes to Macau, took effect yesterday.
The number of cigarettes confiscated in the 33 cases apprehended in the early hours of yesterday morning very much exceeds the usual quantity of 900 recorded every day, according to the public department. Following the act which was passed by the Legislative Assembly last Thursday, it was reported that the previous few days saw a surge in smuggled cigarettes, most of which have been found on mainland visitors arriving in the region.
The Customs authorities reiterated their firm stance against any attempts at tobacco smuggling. “As usual, we enforce order in accordance with the laws and regulations. If anyone carries excess cigarettes into the city, which is against the law, we’d definitely press charges against them after taking the set administrative procedures,” warned Ao Kuan Cheong, the officer stationed at the Barrier Gate Checkpoint, adding that violators would be liable to a fine ranging from MOP5,000 to MOP100,000.
Under the new policy, only 19 cigarettes, down from 100, were allowed into the region through the immigration checkpoint. The region only accepts one cigar or 25 grams of other manufactured tobacco carried across the border.
In response to the fact that people might be unaware of revisions to the law, the authorities have set up four cigarette disposal units in the visitor waiting zone at the Border Gates checkpoint so that excess tobacco may be discarded.