Lofty dealers crash-land

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 12:00am

Dealers in contraband tobacco have resorted to throwing boxes of cigarettes to buyers from the second floor of a market complex in Mongkok in a ploy to escape detection.

But their evasive tactics came to an end yesterday with the arrest of two Vietnamese women and a male buyer.

Customs chiefs said buyers were asked to wait outside the Canton Road market complex after placing their orders and handing over the cash.

'A plastic bag containing the package of the dutiable cigarettes was hurled out of the window from the second-floor unoccupied stall to buyers,' said a Customs spokesman.

'In the past, they used to change hands in the street.' He said the move was to avoid detection after 80 extra officers joined a taskforce against illicit cigarette sales.

Six men were arrested in a 12-hour blitz on other black spots. About 58,000 cigarettes with a market value of $80,000 and a duty potential of $45,000 were seized.

In a separate case, Customs officers arrested two men aged 31 and 34 and seized $900,000 worth of cigarettes in a centre in Ping Che, Fanling.