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Polish lorry driver arrested for smuggling 9 million cigarettes


jon357 64 | 14,382    
27 Aug 2017  #1
This looks quite an organised thing. The excise duty that he was trying to evade, pays for schools, nurseries, care for the vulnerable. If he hadn't been caught, society would have lost out on millions.

A lorry driver, who smuggled more than nine million cigarettes into the UK hidden inside air filter units, has been jailed for three years. HM Revenue and Customs estimates that Andrzej Krasnodebski evaded evading £2.5 million in duty.

kentonline/dover/news/trucker-jailed-for-smuggling-nine-128969/
johnny reb 16 | 3,136    
27 Aug 2017  #2
If he hadn't been caught, society would have lost out on millions.

Worse yet.........
Polish firms are left some PLN 31 million/EUR 7.3m out of pocket every day because of staff bunking off for cigarette breaks.
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #3
PLN 31 million/EUR 7.3m out of pocket every day because of staff bunking off for cigarette breaks.

That sounds like some HR thing. I doubt firms are that 'out of pocket', not least because they make more money from the staff being at work than the staff get in wages.

When I used to work in an office years ago, in the days just after switching from ashtrays on the desk to smoking rooms, we just used to add 30 minutes on our timesheets to cover smoke breaks. It worked.

Cigarette smuggling in Europe is a major problem though - it deprives society (rather more important than some uptight HR person's crabby beancounting) of excise revenue, money which is used to support the most vulnerable in our communities, to pay for schools, hospitals, day care centres etc. Poland is sometimes the origin of contraband cigarettes for smaller scale smuggling operations and sometimes the conduit for larger scale operations (like this one, involving cigs from further east) and this is a problem.

Law enforcement officials in Poland have to concentrate on contraband cigs and booze being sold in Poland, so can't and don't divert resources to sthings being taken further west.

An identical level of excise duty across Europe would be a better system, and allow countries to work together and properly inspect lorries coming into Europe from Belarus/Ukraine/Moldova/Russia etc.
johnny reb 16 | 3,136    
28 Aug 2017  #4
Poland is sometimes the origin of contraband cigarettes for smaller scale smuggling operations

Just people trying to make a go in life.
Have to give them credit for trying.
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #5
Just people trying to make a go in life.

By smuggling and selling wholesale to shops? One or two people selling a few extra cartons isn't the end of the world - like shoplifting by the poor, however when the total sold commercially without excise is added up, think how many schools, how many cops' salaries how many nurses that lost excise pays for.
mafketis 17 | 6,756    
28 Aug 2017  #6
Wow... it's almost as if border controls were a good idea..... I'm surprised to see you make the case, but well done!
Roger5 1 | 1,463    
28 Aug 2017  #7
An identical level of excise duty across Europe would be a better system

Wouldn't that just encourage more smuggling? People buy under-the-counter cigs in the UK because they can't afford full price ones. If cigs were 30PLN in PL, the rate of smuggling from the east and south would explode. I'd be tempted myself.
Marsupial - | 908    
28 Aug 2017  #8
People buy them here too. The stupid government has done two things: one they created a black market, two is that pot is now cheaper. So why buy smokes when you get weed for a better price? The revenue stream they predict from this is a con job and budget fail of epic proportions. You can buy under counter cigs just about anywhere. So the government has made smoking cheaper. Lol. How dumb are they.
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #9
So why buy smokes when you get weed for a better price?

Tobacco addiction. The high price and the restrictions on smoking in the UK has reduced the number of smokers dramatically.

If cigs were 30PLN in PL, the rate of smuggling from the east and south would explode. I'd be tempted myself.

A few places in Warsaw sell them anyway, nasty things from Moldova. The idea is that the huge amount of money spend on hunting down cigs smuggled through the internal borders would be concentrated on stopping them coming through the external border and used rigourously. It wouldn't be nice locking up the little old Polish ladies who sell them in Wola and taking their real estate and pension as a mandatory penalty, however it would be a very effective deterrent.

it's almost as if border controls were a good idea

No, it isn't - even a very bad idea, one that would cripple economies and styme free movement.
mafketis 17 | 6,756    
28 Aug 2017  #10
No, it isn't - even a very bad idea, one that would cripple economies and styme free movement.

but you keep giving evidence to the contrary.

If tobacco taxes are levelled across the EU then one of the two scenarios will play out

- the prices will be aimed at Western Eruope and make tobacco products very, very expensive in places like Poland creating a very big market for smugglers (the original proponents of free movement of goods!).

- the prices will be aimed at Eastern Europe dramatically dropping the price of tobacco products in the west which probably means more smokers

The high price and the restrictions on smoking in the UK has reduced the number of smokers dramatically

Why makes you think the UK government wants to reduce the number of smokers? Tobacco taxes are a very high source of revenue. That's why governments have actually attacked electronic cigarettes (possibly the most effective in stopping people smoking as it still gives them the oral stimulation that gums and patches and abstention don't).
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #11
creating a very big market for smugglers

Read the thread.

Why makes you think the UK government wants to reduce the number of smokers?

They do - it's been a declared policy for decades and is working.
mafketis 17 | 6,756    
28 Aug 2017  #12
They do - it's been a declared policy for decades and is working.

You are almost touchingly naive.

you should read this blog //velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com/ lots of interesting info on governments fudging data on smoking figures (and unintended consequences of ineffective tobacco control policies)
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #13
That just looks like libertarian stuff from that guy who used to write for 'Spiked'.

The reality is that the numbers of smokers has plummeted in the UK, and within Europe there's a correlation between tobacco prices and the number of smokers.

And anti-smuggling operations are important for this - the excise revenue from the remaining smokers is important to society.
mafketis 17 | 6,756    
28 Aug 2017  #14
the excise revenue from the remaining smokers is important to society.

Milk those tax cows! Yaaaahhoooooooo!

You can't have it both ways. If the number of smokers (as in people wanting to smoke) is decreasing then there wouldn't be a big market for free trade cigarettes.

The revenue from jacked up prices can't be that important because the government itself is, in theory, trying to destroy that revenue stream entirely.
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #15
Milk those tax cows! Yaaaahhoooooooo!

Excise revenues are part of society's income.

The revenue from jacked up prices can't be that important because the government itself is, in theory, trying to destroy that revenue stream entirely.

The opposite is true. As the number of smokers decreases, the revenue from remaining tobacco sales becomes more important. Not least to fund medical treatment for former smokers.

Hence anti-smuggling enforcement.

Perhaps you'd just prefer unrestricted sales.
mafketis 17 | 6,756    
28 Aug 2017  #16
Perhaps you'd just prefer unrestricted sales.

Pretty much.

As the number of smokers decreases, the revenue from remaining tobacco sales becomes more important.

Government double think.
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #17
Pretty much.

That's not the prevalent view in the jurisdiction where the smuggler was caught. Anyway, he's got three years, which should help to deter others.

Government double think.

Or a joined up society. The salaries of the palliative care doctors and nurses have to come from somewhere.
mafketis 17 | 6,756    
28 Aug 2017  #18
which should help to deter others.

or encourage them (crackdowns mean price increeeeeaaaases).

That's not the prevalent view in the jurisdiction where the smuggler was caught.

it's almost as if unregulated free trade across borders weren't an absolute good to be pursued no matter what....
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #19
crackdowns mean price increeeeeaaaases

That's the whole point.

free trade across borders

Better to have one unified excise policy across the EU, one National Health Service, one economy.
mafketis 17 | 6,756    
28 Aug 2017  #20
Better to have one unified excise policy across the EU, one National Health Service, one economy.

How's that worked out for Greece? Europe has many different kinds of economies and uniting them without massive financial interventions (in the form of transfers) is impossible.

And.... it's very undemocratic. Do you seriously think you could get that vision passed in elections? You couldn't manage to win a referendum that should have been a slam dunk. Different peoples and nationalities like being different and will resist nudges from on high to become Euro-cogs.
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #21
How's that worked out for

It hasn't been implemented anywhere - yet.

And.... it's very undemocratic

Such is life.

Your comments are odd today - nothing to do with the lorry driver caught smuggling - it just looks like you're trying to argue.
Roger5 1 | 1,463    
28 Aug 2017  #22
Twice the limit and stopped in lane one for twelve minutes. This guy won't touch a steering wheel again for a long time. Whoops, wrong lorry driver thread.
johnny reb 16 | 3,136    
28 Aug 2017  #23
The high price and the restrictions on smoking in the UK has reduced the number of smokers dramatically.

I think one out of three people smoke tobacco in Poland.

If cigs were 30PLN in PL,

That is about what they are in the U.S.
How much does a pack cost in Poland right now ?
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #24
I think one out of three people smoke tobacco in Poland.

How much does a pack cost in Poland right now ?

It's really been falling over the past few years. When I first came to Poland, cigs were the (PLZ equivalent) of 2 or 3 zl a pack. Now it's about 16zl for Marlboro and not much less for the cheapies. The strongest ones (as in the rest of the EU) have been banned.

40zl+ in Britain. Here where I am now it's 4zl or less, not good for my lungs.
johnny reb 16 | 3,136    
28 Aug 2017  #25
not good for my lungs.

Or veins or heart or blood pressure or pancreas or blood or throat or mouth or .................
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,090    
28 Aug 2017  #26
Some truckers do this in the us too. You can easily double your investment by buying cigs in places like Kentucky Virginia etc oftentimes right from the distributor buying em at wholesale $4.50 $5 a pack and they drive to places like Chicago or NYC where the same cigs retail at 15 a pack. If cigs cost roughly the same in each state there wouldn't exist such a trade.

Idk about Europe but here there's not much of a penalty for getting caught. Usually just a big fine and back tax payment.
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #27
Idk about Europe

A big penalty if you're a lorry driver - this guy got 3 years (to be fair it was tax evasion of £2.5 million). If you've just got a few hundred cartons in the boot of your car at Dover they'll seize it and either fine you or not, if you've got a suitcase full at the airport, the same. If you've got a couple of cartons extra and an extra litre or two of spirits (coming into Poland anyway) the stern lady says you must never do it again, winks at you and lets you through.
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,090    
28 Aug 2017  #28
@jon357

Ya i mean every time I travel abroad I typically stuff around half a carry suitcase full of marlboros lucky strikes (my fav brand) and montecristos at the duty free on the return flight home so usually like 6 to 8 cartons and mayb 2 boxes of cigars. I've never been hassled by us customs they're more concerned about agriculture and drugs. Actually now that I think of it I've never been called to like a secondary search in any country.. There's dogs in the carousel though so I would advise against bringing foods from abroad bc they'll def sniff it out.

In Poland counterfeit cigs have been popular since prl times. They're openly sold in markets for half price and usually have a Russian German or English warning on rhem instead of the usual polish one. Some of the pics they put on packs are flat out disgusting lol I'm sure they've given more than 1 polish kid nightmares

A similar case in the us happened a few years back - same thing polish dude w a lorry full of cigs. He got a few months then was deported
Roger5 1 | 1,463    
28 Aug 2017  #29
They're openly sold in markets for half price

Where I live, near the border with Belarus, they used to be more or less openly sold in the market "Vutka, papirossi, vutka, papirossi", but that was before Poland joined the EU. Since then it has all changed. Belarussians used to come over in LPG cars with full petrol tanks and sell that, too. No doubt moody cigs can still be found if you know where to go but, no, they're not sold openly anymore.
OP jon357 64 | 14,382    
28 Aug 2017  #30
I've never been hassled by us customs they're more concerned about agriculture and drugs

If you look poor and have a large holdall bulging with carton shapes you're more likely to get pulled. Or getting off certain flights, often Dubai flights. These are two factors that increase the chance of being pulled. That and making journeys that are established cig smuggling runs.

In Poland counterfeit cigs have been popular since prl times

They sell them in the UK, often coming via Lithuania and Poland, sometimes from Belarus, hidden under containers of timber.

Some of the pics they put on packs are flat out disgusting lol I'm sure they've given more than 1 polish kid nightmares

They could have anything in them. Like that contraband Spiritus that they used to sell at Stadion. The yellow label always said "America's Finest Corn Spirit", basically moonshine from down near Rzeszów. Illegal, and society earned no excise revenue from it. A problem? A small one (unless you're a nurse waiting for her delayed wages) until there was a rogue batch contaminated by methanol and several people died.


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