Chinese tobacco authorities seize counterfeit, smuggled cigarettes

BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese tobacco authorities have busted 1,441 cases worth more than 50,000 yuan (about 7,259 U.S. dollars) each since December to curb tobacco-related crimes, according to the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration (STMA).

The authorities have seized 78,600 counterfeit cigarettes, 20,500 smuggled cigarettes, 3,317 tonnes of tobacco and arrested 1,666 suspects in the period, in an effort to maintain a sound market order over the Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, the STMA said.

For the past two years, China has seen more smuggling cases of counterfeit cigarettes from overseas and more than 70 percent of the handled cases involved the Internet, said Lu Jie, a senior official with the STMA.

Those counterfeit cigarettes were made overseas and smuggled into China through the border regions of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province, Lu added.

Noting that the Spring Festival is the peak season for tobacco consumption, Lu said crimes related to counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes have occurred frequently as well.

(Source: Xinhua)