33 Chinese arrested in police raid on US$21 million counterfeit cigarette factory

Criminal gang suspected of illegally producing 10,000 cigarettes a day from five bases across the country

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 June, 2018, 3:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2018, 11:06am

More than 30 people have been arrested in southwest China on suspicion of making and selling counterfeit cigarettes valued at 140 million yuan (US$21.7 million), according to an online news report.

Police and tobacco law enforcement officials raided the gang’s main production base in Qujing, Yunnan province, on June 6 after weeks of surveillance, Yunnan.cn reported on Sunday.

A joint inquiry was launched in mid-April after the tobacco monopoly bureau in Zhenxiong county notified the local public security bureau about counterfeit cigarettes in circulation in the area.

The investigation found that the group had been producing, storing, transporting and selling cigarettes from five places in various provinces for the past nine months, the report said.

The gang was making about 10,000 fake cigarettes a day for sale across the country.

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More than 200 police officers and law enforcement officials from six Yunnan counties took part in the raid in Qujing, which netted 33 suspects, 78,000 illegal cigarettes, three cigarette packaging machines, and 68 tonnes of tobacco and filters, the report said.

It did not say if any action had been taken against the people who were arrested.