China intensifies crackdown on smuggled, counterfeit cigarettes.


BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese tobacco authorities seized 195,000 cartons of smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes in the first half of this year, the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration said Thursday.

Tobacco authorities at all levels worked closely with the police and customs authorities to intensify the crackdown on smuggling gangs.

A total of 2,817 counterfeit cigarette cases, each worth 50,000 yuan (7,353 U.S. dollars) or more, were solved from January to June.

Law enforcement agencies captured 3,786 suspects for producing and selling counterfeit cigarettes and prosecuted 1,601 of them.

China is the world's largest cigarette producer and consumer market, with over 316 million adult smokers. The cigarette trade is governed by a state monopoly.

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