07 September 2017 0 Comments Posted By : XIAO XU

Black markets for illegal cigarettes found in Vancouver, Toronto

Chinese cigarettes, barred from legal sale in Canada, are being briskly bought and sold by black-market vendors in Vancouver and Toronto, some of whom are getting the product from travellers purchasing cigarettes duty free and then exchanging them for services in Canada.

An examination by The Globe and Mail found more than 300 advertisements selling Chinese cigarettes in one week on VanSky, a popular Chinese-language website that caters to the Chinese population in the Vancouver area. About 180 of them clearly noted the cigarettes were duty free or bought at airports.

The market is less active in Toronto: Nine posts were found selling cigarettes on a Chinese website iASK and six of them mentioned their goods were from duty-free purchases.

It is illegal in Canada for anyone to sell tobacco products without a permit. Anyone purchasing duty-free goods can do so only for their own personal or household use.

The RCMP would not comment on any investigation into the online sales. However, the force noted in an e-mailed statement that Richmond RCMP seized approximately 1,500 cartons, the equivalent of 300,000 contraband cigarettes, in a bust last month. Two suspects have been arrested.

Chinese brands cannot be legally sold in Canada. But the volume of ads, especially in the Vancouver area, suggests the demand for them is substantial.

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