Smuggler from Newington Green who stashed tonne of illegal tobacco in storage depot spared jail

Kwai Choi Man. Picture: HMRC

Kwai Choi Man. Picture: HMRC - Credit: HMRC

A smuggler from Newington Green who ran an illegal tobacco factory out of a cabin in east London has been spared jail.

Box containing illegal tobacco pouches hidden in cleaning wipes packaging. Picture: HMRC

Box containing illegal tobacco pouches hidden in cleaning wipes packaging. Picture: HMRC - Credit: HMRC

Kwai Choi Man, of Queen Margaret’s Grove, stashed away 1.1 tonnes of tobacco worth £166,000 in unpaid duty in containers rented under the name George.

The 64-year-old paid in cash and left no contact details with the depot in Poplar but was eventually tracked down by tax inspectors who caught him loading his Mercedes with the illicit goods.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found fake branded tobacco pouches and processing and manufacturing plane hidden behind the cabin.

Man on Thursday received a 15-month sentence, suspended for two years, at Snaresbrook Crown Court after pleading guilty to evading excise duty.

Tobacco pouch hidden in packaging for cleaning wipes. Picture: HMRC

Tobacco pouch hidden in packaging for cleaning wipes. Picture: HMRC - Credit: HMRC


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The court also imposed a nine-month curfew, between 7pm and 7am.

“Man thought he was above the law by attempting to flood the market with his illicit, smuggled tobacco, denying a living for decent, hard-working retailers,” said Brett Wilkinson, assistant director of the taxman’s fraud investigation service.

Tobacco pounch found inside packaging for cleaning wipes. Picture: HMRC

Tobacco pounch found inside packaging for cleaning wipes. Picture: HMRC - Credit: HMRC

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