Kosovo: Customs Seizes over 500,000 Smuggled Cigarettes

Prishtinë, Sept 10, 2005 – On September 3rd, officers of UNMIK Customs seized about 505,400 cigarettes in packages with Marlboro and Marlboro Light design, placed in PC Towers in a transport vehicle of Macedonian origin. The cigarettes were exported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates and destined for the Kosovo market.

According to the preliminary analysis of UNMIK Customs Service Intelligence Sector, the cigarettes are believed to be false, manufactured by illegal cigarette factories in Asia, mainly in China. The cigarettes contain different toxic substances and are very harmful for health. The cigarettes have been processed in a sophisticated way, so that consumers would not be able to distinguish them from original ones.

UNMIK Customs is preparing a request to Philip Morris for a professional analysis of the cigarettes to identify the substances inside. The public will be informed about the results.

Addressing the media, UNMIK Customs Director Enforcement Ekrem Hajdari appealed to smokers not to buy cigarettes without banderoles. “Buying legal cigarettes, smokers can be assured that they are not harming the budget of Kosovo and, what is more important, they will not unnecessarily harm their health,” he said.