Gov’t to strictly enforce duty-free tobacco sales

The China Post news staff

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) will demand that airport duty-free retailers ask for passports when they sell duty-free cigarettes to incoming visitors and home-bound citizens returning from foreign visits, MOF Minister Christina Liu (劉憶如) told legislators yesterday.

The rules are there, but not strictly observed, Liu said during a committee meeting at the Legislature, adding her ministry will more vigorously publicize the rules, conduct stricter inspections, and impose a heavy fine on contraveners.

Under current regulations, incoming travelers and foreign visitors are allowed one carton of duty-free cigarettes each.

To initiate legal proceedings against them would be too much, Liu said, adding existing rules will be revised in two weeks, principally in the direction of heavier fines. A home-bound citizen who asks others to buy cigarettes for him or her will have to have their passports swiped by the duty-free stores, she said.