Smugglers, in their latest innovative endeavour to succeed, dressed up as Hajj pilgrims. But the constant vigilance maintained by Customs Intelligence and airport police poured water all over their plans.
On Thursday, customs officials at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport seized a total of 1,309 cartons of cigarettes from passengers arriving from Saudi Arabia claiming to be Hajj pilgrims.
Assistant Commissioner Saidul Islam, with the Dhaka Customs House, said the smugglers first travelled to Dubai to purchase the products. Then, they would fly to Saudi Arabia, disguise themselves as pilgrims and then fly back to Bangladesh to dispel any notions of suspicion.
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Some of the passengers fled when their bags were identified as to have been carrying contraband cigarettes. No arrests were known to be made over the confiscations.
The total value of the contraband cigarette seized on Thursday totalled Tk22.35 lakh.
The prevalence of contraband cigarette smuggling is due to the high excise duties slapped on the product, a whopping 450%.
This story was first published on Bangla Tribune