Fake cigarettes seized near billion mark

2011-11-10 22:46

Johannesburg - A married couple and a former SA Revenue Service (Sars) worker appeared in the Alexandra Magistrate's Court on Thursday in connection with smuggling contraband cigarettes, the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (TISA) said.

They were remanded until November 15 when they would be expected to bring a formal bail application, chief executive officer Francois van der Merwe said.

He said the three were arrested on Tuesday when police and Sars officials raided a residence in Bedfordview, east of Johannesburg.

They faced over 200 charges related to the smuggling of contraband cigarettes.

The couple owned a company transporting goods from Zimbabwe to South Africa, Van der Merwe said.

"A warrant of arrest has been issued for the second Sars official."

Further details on the operations of the syndicate and the value of smuggled cigarettes were not immediately available.

TISA commended the police and Sars for making the arrest.

"About one billion illegal cigarettes have to date been seized through over 6 000 interventions by law enforcement officials," Van der Merwe said.

"In addition, over 500 people have been arrested on charges related to the smuggling and trade of contraband cigarettes."

Van der Merwe said the arrests sent a warning signal to other illegal traders that no one was above the law.

  • Oneant - 2011-11-11 07:51

    whats a fake cigarette? does it look and smell and smoke like a cigarette but its not REALLY a cigarette?

      Colin - 2011-11-11 13:33

      when they fail to pay tax on it

      Dirk - 2011-11-11 15:48

      I thought all cigarettes are fake- it costs you money, makes you stink more than a used toilet and eventually kills you.

  • Polok - 2011-11-11 08:31

    no, oneant..its a cigerette brand that the governmentdoes not recognise as complying with its agreed methods such as tar and nicotine levels. these ciggerettes are not fake in a true sense but rather illegal in south africa...for example Madison is a well known American brand but is not legal in south africa...i guess illegal cigerettes are a bit of a huff and puff to the economy of South Africa...

      comurray - 2011-11-11 09:03

      These illegally imported cigarettes don't pay taxes like the locally made ones, therefore the government looses out. There is nothing wrong with the so called illegal cigarettes.

      ludlowdj - 2011-11-11 11:02

      The true story here has nothing to do with complying with local standards and everything to do with bypassing the payment of tax on these cigarettes. Illegal cigarettes are cigarettes smuggled into the country bypassing taxation and being sold at lower prices than the local legal re-sellers can sell them at. The world system is corrupt and has profit as its only focus, such that the ordinary man has become expendable. you can no longer achieve anything unless you pay the government for that right, isn't it time for a change. “The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth. Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in (South Africa) and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.” ? Howard Zinn, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

  • Ali - 2011-11-11 09:05

    Well the goverment put so much tax on siggarets that the illegal market is florishing. Who is realy to blame for all this illegal action that is happening now?

  • Leon Goldschagg - 2015-06-01 18:16

    How about complaining about alcohol for a change!

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