A duo of smugglers have been jailed after attempting to import half a million cigarettes without paying a penny in duties.
Jailed for a total of almost five years, Jinsen Li, 49 and Kay Kuen Poon, 59 were caught dodging £150,000 in duties by importing cigarettes and 30kg of rolling tobacco from China and picking them up from 20 different mailbox delivery outlets across London.
Poon, of Page Street in Mill Hill, and Li of High Street in Tottenham, were arrested in June 2016 after they were caught retrieving the packages on CCTV.
Li continued to collect the packages of Chinese tobacco in the same way just days after being released on police bail.
Poon pleaded guilty to fraudulent evasion of excise duty and was sentenced to 26 months in jail at Snaresbrook Crown Court on January 5.
Li had denied the charge but was found guilty at the court on November 23 and sentenced to 33 months in jail.
Mark Cox, assistant director at the HMRC Fraud Investigation Service, said: “This pair thought their criminal scheme would go unnoticed, but they were wrong and now they are paying the price.
“Criminals selling illicit tobacco threaten the livelihoods of hard working legitimate businesses by stealing their trade.
"I encourage anyone with information on this type of fraud to contact our fraud hotline on 0800 788 887.”
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