Bengaluru sees surge in smuggling of cigarettes from foreign countries

BENGALURU: Smuggling of foreign cigarettes into Bengaluru is on the rise and the demand, going by cases registered with the customs department, is high for products from Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.

Statistics obtained from the customs department show 80 cases have already been detected at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) up to September this financial year ending March 31, 2017, and sources said there are all indications the number would surpass the previous year's figure.

In 2015-16, the number of cases saw a huge jump to 186 from just three in 2014-15. Customs department sources said smuggling foreign cigarettes is lucrative business, as smuggled cigarettes are cheaper given that customs duty on such products is high when imported.