Chinese Man Convicted

A Chinese national is now waiting to be sentenced after he was caught trying to smuggle four packages of tobacco through Bauerfield Airport.

The packages were concealed and labelled as China Tea.

Police sources are calling on Internal Affairs Minister, Andrew Napuat to address work permit issues and stay of expats who know Vanuatu laws but are still trying to avoid them.

They said that this issue should have send a wake-up call to the Customs Department to step up and tighten the security at the port of entries.

Prosecutor Damien Boe said Liang Chao admitted one count of failure to declare tobacco in order to defraud the revenue of Customs, contrary to section 174 (1) (a) of the Customs Act No. 07 of 2013.

He said Liang also pleaded guilty to an additional count of misleading labels, contrary to section 26 of Tobacco Control Act No. 19 of 2008.

Those charged with the Section 174 (1) (a) are required under the law to pay a a maximum penalty not exceeding Vt10 million or not exceed five years imprisonment or both while the section 26 of Tobacco Act warranted a maximum punishment that not exceeds Vt1 million or not exceeding two years imprisonment.

The prosecutor said in July this year, Chao was on a Fiji Airways flight FJ 263 and when he reached Bauerfield International Airport, the officers arrested him after his bag was searched.

He said the four packages weighed 1.4 kg and officers suspected this might have happened in the past.

They then proceeded to unpack the whole suitcase and found 10 by 50 packets of fine rolling papers, one Maxotte roll box and one packet of cigarette filter.

Mr Boe said that all the items found in his bag were not declared before Chao left Fiji for Vanuatu and he had intentionally concealed them.

He said the Chinese was cautioned and interviewed by the Custom Officers in Santo and he admitted trying to smuggled tobacco illegally to Vanuatu.

He will be sentenced shortly.

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