Customs officials catch smuggler in the green channel
On 24 May, Customs Office officials for Vienna International Airport working in the customs clearance section stopped a 52-year-old British citizen just as he was about to exit the baggage hall via the green channel. The man had arrived on a scheduled flight from Geneva and was carrying only hand luggage. In the small bag he had with him, however, the customs officials found smuggled items of great value: inside were 5 wrist watches and 6 pocket watches with a total value of 155,000 euros.
Finance Minister Gernot Blümel commented: “I congratulate the vigilant customs officials at Vienna International Airport who monitor the green channel with a trained and experienced eye and routinely apprehend smugglers. Thanks to the professional work they do, our officials not only ensure our laws are upheld, but they also protect all decent, law-abiding businesspeople.
Investigations by customs revealed that the watches had been acquired at auctions in New York, Dubai, Hong Kong and Geneva. The customs officials confiscated the smuggled goods and initiated criminal proceedings against the Briton, which carry a penalty of 62,000 euros. Furthermore, the watches will be forfeited, becoming the property of the State; and will subsequently be sold off.