A former salesman in a duty-free shop at Beijing Capital International Airport worked with a cleaner to smuggle cigarettes, dodging tax of 550,000 yuan ($88,400), Beijing Times reported on Thursday.
Tang Mengbo confessed in court on Wednesday that he heard from colleagues that Tao Dechun, a cleaner working in the airport's Terminal 2 international departure area, had managed to buy duty-free cigarettes for friends and avoided customs' inspection by using the airport's trash cart to transport the goods.
Tang registered two online shops dedicated to selling cigarettes and quit his job at the airport's duty-free shop.
Tang said he and Tao made a deal that he would give Tao 5 yuan ($0.80) for each pack of cigarettes the cleaner smuggled out of the airport. Tang said he ordered about 60 packs two to three times a week from his accomplice.
Tang said he sold the cigarettes at prices much lower than the market rate through his online shops, which brought him profits of between 30,000 to 40,000 yuan.
The prosecutor said the two had smuggled about 2,500 packs of cigarettes, including brand names such as Marlboro, between November 2011 and July 2012.
The report said police, who were tipped off by a whistleblower, caught Tao on July 20 when he bought 60 packs of cigarettes from the airport's duty-free shop and attempted to leave.
The judge did not hand down a sentence in court on Wednesday.
The two could face more than 10 years in prison, according to the criminal law in China.
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