Auckland woman jailed for smuggling 19 million cigarettes into country
An Auckland woman has been jailed for three years for her part in smuggling more than $18.7m of tobacco revenue into the country.
Hua Yi Zhu, 50, was sentenced at the Auckland District Court on Thursday for smuggling 19,419,400 cigarettes and revenue fraud of more than $18.7m in tobacco revenue spanning a four-year period.
Zhu’s sentencing marks the successful completion of Operation Whitethorn – a Customs investigation into a long-running tobacco smuggling enterprise.
Operation Whitethorn began in 2018 when Zhu’s husband Yu Zhi Hu was identified supplying large amounts of cigarettes to wholesale purchasers. In March 2020, Hu was sentenced to five years and three months’ imprisonment for smuggling cigarettes in shipping containers from China, using their legitimate furniture business as cover.
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