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High, Dry and Busted in Bali

Huge Cache of Illegal Alcohol and Counterfeit Custom Stamps Seized in Bali.

(4/25/2009) Bali's Custom and Excise Officers have conducted a raid on a warehouse in Bali confiscating thousands of bottles of imported wine and alcohol. The raid, conducted in April 16, 2009, uncovered nearly 550 cases of alcohol containing over 5,600 bottles. Also discovered by customs officials were a quantity of counterfeit custom stickers.

According to NusaBali, officials estimate the potential loss in government revenues represented by the illegal alcohol and customs stamps at Rp. 8.7 billion (US$950,000).

Indonesian Customs regulations provide for criminal prosecution of those connected with illegal smuggling operations. Punishment under the law can total up to 8 years behind bars and fines equal to 20 times the applicable import duty.

Customs officials have taken into custody a businessman with the initials KS who reportedly purchased the alcohol and false stamps from parties in Jakarta and Surabaya.

On one level, the Bali raids can be seen as a manifestation of warnings from many quarters that the recently introduced custom's duty on imported alcohol approaching 300% are a virtual guarantee that a black market in imported alcohol will soon emerge.