European Anti-Fraud Office intercepts Chinese garlic smuggles


BRUSSELS (BNO NEWS) – The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) along Norwegian and Swedish customs intercepted in Sweden a lorry carrying 28 tons of smuggled fresh garlic from China, the European Union (EU) announced on Wednesday.

“The interception of the lorry was the result of a carefully prepared initiative coordinated by OLAF. This action came about due to the excellent cooperation provided by Norwegian and Swedish customs,” Ian Walton, Director of Investigations and Operations, said.

In 2009, approximately 1,200 tons of Chinese garlic were smuggled into the EU through Norway. The estimated value of the smuggled garlic is of €1.5 million in terms of customs’ duties.

Last May, OLAF launched an investigation regarding the smuggling of Chinese garlic into the EU. OLAF and customs’ services from Norway and Sweden worked together and intercepted a full truck-load, containing 28 tons, of garlic on June 18 in Sweden.

Law enforcement stopped a truck driver who was crossing the Norway-Sweden border, without a declared consignment, he was arrested and the garlic and truck seized. The garlic traveled by ship from China to Norway. Garlic is exempt from customs’ duties in Norway. After clearing customs in Oslo, Norway, the garlic was smuggled by truck into the EU.

The production capacity for garlic in China is very high and production costs are low. This causes the illegal import of fresh garlic because it is an attractive business for smugglers.

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