Double murder linked to cigarette smuggling
18 August 2004, BRUSSELS - A violent double murder in Bouillon has been linked to a cigarette smuggling ring, it emerged Wednesday.
18 August 2004
BRUSSELS - A violent double murder in Bouillon has been linked to a cigarette smuggling ring, it emerged Wednesday.
Police had been baffled by the killing in plain daylight of two travellers on 2 August. The murderer was seen fleeing the scene carrying a briefcase.
The investigation has now shown that international cigarette trafficking lies at the heart of the case, Le Soir reported, citing the examining magistrate, Jean-Marc Connerotte.
He said the two victims, a Pole and a Romanian, had bought 50,000 contraband cigarettes and were on their way from Poland to the United Kingdom.
But they were intercepted by the men who sold them the cigarettes, who now wanted to double their earnings.
Two Antwerp men were stopped in Spain on Tuesday and are being questioned in connection with the crime.
Antwerp is a key location for cigarette smugglers, although the problem is less marked than before, said Luk Joossens, a contraband expert at the World Bank.
Smugglers regularly cross Belgium on the way to the UK, where the high price of cigarettes makes contraband particularly lucrative.
Some criminals also travel via Lithuania, Kaliningrad and Moldova.
According to the European Commission's anti-fraud office the massive traffic in Antwerp has declined as a result of intensified efforts terrorism launched in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news