A SHIPMENT of floor tiles that arrived in Australia from China has been used to hide 672 kilograms of illicit tobacco.

On 30 August the tiles were examined at the Australian Border Force container examination facility in Sydney where officers used an X-ray to discover several anomalies.

A physical examination revealed tobacco hidden inside boxes between layers of tiles.

The total amount of tobacco seized was 672 kilograms, which represents more than $800,000 in evaded duty and GST.


On 1 July 2019, it became illegal for anyone to import tobacco without a permit, or in contravention of permit conditions.

Tobacco can no longer be imported through the mail stream.

The new regulations are aimed at further deterring the trade in illicit tobacco.

Acting ABF Regional Commander NSW, Matt O’Connor said, “The ABF is aware of importers using different methods in attempts to circumvent the border”.

“These people should know, no matter how you attempt to conceal illicit items, we can find them,” Commander O’Connor said.

The maximum penalty for tobacco smuggling is 10 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to five times the amount of duty evaded.