A single suitcase was unzipped and cartons upon cartons of cigarettes were found. The 37-year-old unemployed woman was sent over to customs where a full bag search was done. After her bags were checked, a tally of 89 cartons, or 17, 800 cigarettes were found in her possession. Very little pieces of clothing and personal items were found with her, according to officials.
Currently, a one-carton limit is given to passengers. She did not declare any of the cigarettes and cartons which went over the allowance were taxed a fee of 8 thousand dollars. During an interview the woman said that she had brought the cigarettes to sell in New Zealand as the "exchange rate was good."
The airport manager in charge of customs said catching two suitcases full of cigarettes is certainly unusual. "Customs often catches passengers trying to smuggle in a few extra cartons, but intercepting two suitcases full of cigarettes is certainly unusual," Customs Auckland Airport Manager Lloyd Smith said and continued on, "It's not illegal to import cigarettes, but they must be declared and the correct duty and GST paid."
Since the woman was not able to pay the declaration fees, she was fined and sent off to Immigration New Zealand who denied her the chance of entering the country. She had to take a flight back to China, while the cigarettes were taken into official custody where they will be destroyed.
Voice of Russia, TVNZ One News