ASEAN, Australia launch project to tackle illicit tobacco hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source:
Jakarta (VNA) - ASEAN and Australia established the ASEAN-Australia Task Force on Illicit Tobacco (Project Portcullis 2021) last month to combat the smuggling of illicit tobacco in a month of action.

Throughout June, participating customs authorities shared intelligence information on tobacco consignments to support enhanced targeting opportunities, disruption efforts and enforcement actions across ASEAN and Australia.

The smuggling and sale of illicit tobacco is a global issue, with proceeds often being used by transnational organised criminal syndicates to fund other forms of criminal activities.

The collaboration has enabled customs authorities to apply scrutiny to an increased volume of suspicious sea cargo and land border consignments via the ‘Alert Notification System’ designed by ASEAN Customs Enforcement and Compliance Working Group (CECWG).

Project Portcullis, which was initiated by the CECWG, has proven to be highly effective, with more than 50 pieces of information shared, and 19 million sticks of cigarettes seized.

The ASEAN Directors-General of Customs is committed to combatting transnational organised crime, and will apply similar techniques utilising the CECWG Task Force mechanism to disrupt border-related threats.

Australia, as one of ASEAN’s dialogue partners, will continue to work cooperatively with ASEAN to implement effective countermeasures to prevent organised crime in the region./.