Saturday, 5 March 2011

Bhutan - Monk sentenced for smuggling tobacco worth Nu.120

The Thimphu district court yesterday sentenced a 23-year-old monk to three years in prison for smuggling tobacco. He is the first man to be convicted and sentenced under the controversial tobacco act.

Sonam Tshering was caught at the Chunzom checkpoint carrying 48 packets of Baba or chewing tobacco worth Nu.120. He confessed that he bought the chewing tobacco from a shop in the border town of Jaigaon for his own personal consumption.

As per the Tobacco Control Act, a person found smuggling tobacco or tobacco products shall be punishable with a minimum of three years and maximum of five years and below.

Consumers may bring an approved quantity of tobacco products for personal consumption but only after paying the customs duties and taxes.

Sonam Tshering who studied only up to class IV and was a monk at the Semtokha Shedra did not know about the act and did not bring the contraband products after paying the taxes.

His arrest on January 24 generated a lot of public debate with some people calling the act draconian.

No comments: