13 Jan, 2014 @ 13:42
1 min read

Spanish smugglers escape across Gib border

eastern beach gibraltar

IN a scene more like a scene from Miami Vice, Gibraltar customs officers were involved in a frantic night time chase that saw a pair of suspected smugglers escaping over the border.

The drama took place on Friday when two men were challenged after being seen creeping along the edge of Eastern Beach.

Each was carrying a big black holdall and, realising that they had been spotted, began running towards the frontier fence at the top of the runway.

Officers gave chase but the two men dumped their cargo and somehow managed to escape empty-handed to Spain.

A search of the bags found them to contain 11,000 cigarettes (55 cartons).

The drama was just the latest in a series of seizures of both tobacco and drugs by customs officers. There has been a sharp increase in the smuggling of tobacco into Spain, which is 40% cheaper in Gibraltar, since the economic crisis began.

Smugglers make on average €5 per carton sold.

Last year, the Spanish government says, it seized 139 million illegal cigarettes smuggled in from Gibraltar, more than double the figure for 2009.

Giles Brown

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  1. If they really wanted to get rid of the smuggling across the airport all the spanish authorities have to do is move the black berets from the frontier and place them on the other side of the runway!!!! Simples. But they are not really interested in actually tackling the problem but being the pain they are.

  2. Why not just increase the price of cigarettes in Gibraltar to around the same price as Spain, then there would be no incentive to smuggle them, or I wonder if the Gibraltar Government would then lose a lot of income?

  3. Well said Yogi!

    I think you have nailed it.

    All the Government of Gibraltar needs to do is make the price of tabacco and petrol the same as in Spain and all border issues solved.

    Tax revenue from tabacco and petrol is nothing compared to the revenue from tax evasion, money laundering, online casinos and pornographic websites, so plenty of sources of income still available to the Government of Gibraltar.

    In my view, it is shameful for the UK to not put an end to this place.

  4. Ciudadanos, what evidence do you have that the Gibraltar Government makes money from tax evasion, money laundering or pornographic websites?

    By the way the online gaming companies are 100% legal under EU law, and on top of that the Spanish government itself generates significant income from gaming companies based in Gibraltar, because Spain has a tax at consumption for gaming and all gaming has to be via a .es domain.

    If tobacco is made the same price in Gibraltar as Spain, will Spain raise the prices of just about everything else to the same price as Gibraltar?

    The tobacco smuggling “issue” is blown totally out of proportion by Spain. More tobacco is smuggled through Algeciras port in a month than for a whole year out of Gibraltar, but that never hits the headlines. It’s nothing more than a cortina de humo…

  5. Ciudadanos it would be best if spain got its house in order first and got rid of the corrupt politicians, corrupt monarchy, corrupt judges manipulated by the corrupt political elite. SICAVs model of tax evasion in spain, prostition mafias, money laundering monarchy that uses charities to fill their own pockets, 90 infringements in Europe because they don’t comply with anything.

    Uk can never “put an end to this place” because only Gibraltar determines its future and UK does not have our permission to decide our future.

  6. Ciudadanos
    1. Gibraltar sets the prices it sees fit for its commodities. Why should these be raised just because they are much higher in Spain?
    2.All online gaming companies comply with international law even the one that subsidises Real Madrid.
    3. Gibraltar complies with all international regulations as an established finance centre.
    4. Where did you get the pornographic web sites one? Please supply the proof as they will be dealt with immediately unlike Spain’s corruption cases.
    By the way, the European Union has advised Spain to change its judicial system because it is too aligned to the governing parties which choose the judges who preside over government corruption charges!
    Now that’s democracy for you.

  7. Animo

    The territory of Gibraltar belongs to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and not to a bunch of colonial subjects. If in doubt, ask your Royal Marine Governor.

    Of course, Gibraltar only includes the waters of the port of Gibraltar as Spain has made it crystal clear in 2013 dispute RN “dinghy” harassment.

  8. Ciudadanos
    I woke up this morning and I thought to myself I live in a place where
    1. There’s 2 per cent unemployment.
    2. Commodities are cheap
    3.Developments are constantly going up around me.
    4.Wages are high.
    5.Children grow up in a safe environment.
    6.THe weather is beautiful most of the times.
    Not bad even if there are those who consider me a colonial.
    I am living a fact not a dream and for me and those around me the party continues much to the annoyance of Margallo and those who think like him.

  9. Incorrect Ciudadanos. Gibraltar does not belong to the UK. It shares sovereignty with the UK and the UK is responsible for some aspects of foreign affairs and some aspects of defence, otherwise Gibraltar is totally autonomous, and the Governor answers to the Gibraltar Government in those areas, not the other way around.

  10. To Mr. Margallo and Mr. Montoro

    Gentelmen, the only way to properly deal with tax evasion of citizens living in Spain and working in Gibraltar is to make a registry of everybody who enters and leaves Gibraltar daily. Those who enter Gibraltar in the morning and leave in the afternoon are liable to pay full Spanish income tax.

    There are two groups that need to targeted:

    Group A:
    Expats living the good old life in Sotogrande and the Costa del Sol but employed by the financial sector in Gibraltar ( Banks, casinos and other obscure financial institutions).

    Group B:
    Gibraltarians who live in La Linea and cross the border each day for work. They many not be high earners but they are still liable to pay full Spanish income tax.

    Carrying out this policy would also serve to comply with EU recommendations, as the registry would serve to also target those who cross the border more than twice a day and who could be considered suspicious of smuggling.

    Keep up the good work in 2014!!

  11. Ciudadanos the truth hurts I know but ONLY GIBRALTAR DECIDES ITS FUTURE not the UK. Gibraltar has 3 miles of British waters and could claim 12. Do yourself a favour and just stop quoting the idiotic fascist script as it makes you come across as awfully stoopid. BRITISH GIBRALTAR TERRITORIAL WATERS under UNCLOS signed by spain. GIBRALTAR BRITISH IN PERPETUITY. Go seek some consolation therapy.

  12. Gibraltar is regularly accused by some of our neighbours of all sorts ranging from money laundering to arms/child smuggling. Those who reside or work in Gibraltar no the truth.
    We a geographical mosquito who would have been swatted a long time ago by the international community if the allegations were true.
    Instead we continue to thrive while others around us crumble.
    I enjoy reading those constant insults. They reflect a high level of frustration like a child who stamps and cries for something he is never going to get.
    Fact— Gibraltar is a thriving community with the highest possible level of self governance and a Union Jack flying from the top of the Rock and if that hasn’t changed in the last 300 odd years it sure isn’t going to change anytime soon!

  13. hahahahahaha Ciudadanos spain has 90 infringements in the EU. You are so obsessed with Gibraltar!!!!! Pursue the same policy of ALL European citizens who live in spain. You are so obvious that all you care about is fastidiar Gibraltarians. We will keep up the good work so long as we remain British otherwise Gibraltar in spanish hands would end up being another bankrupt town like so many others in spain. Thanks but no thanks. Time for your consolation therapy.

  14. Animo

    “GIBRALTAR BRITISH IN PERPETUITY” You said it, British not Gibraltarian. The rock and waters of the harbour of Gibraltar are British in accordance with the treaty, nothing more and nothing less.

  15. Ciudadano
    1.British and Gibraltarian are synonymous.
    2. From my window I can see rows of tankers stretching halfway across the Bay of Gibraltar and they are all flying a British courtesy flag.
    Did you mention mere waters within our harbour?
    I suggest you do not get so irate, it will not change reality but it might make your blood pressure rise!

  16. Ciudadanos apart from needing consolation therapy you need to get someone to explain what BRITISH GIBRALTAR means because you obviously have difficulty in understanding something so simple. Gibraltar is and will be British in perpetuity because the UK respects our democratically elected wishes to remain so something that fascists obviously would have trouble in assimilating because they don’t know the meaning of the word democracy. You are writing nonsense because you don’t want to accept the truth or possibly out of sheer stupidity. Whichever it may be NOTHING or NOBODY is going to change our status unless WE SAY SO.

  17. Ciudadanos
    I would recommend the musical “The Man from la Mancha” particularly the song “To Dream the Impossible Dream”.
    2014 is certainly looking good yet again from this side of the frontier.
    Good luck to you and the rest of the inhabitants of your beautiful country spoiled by inept and corrupt politicians.

  18. To the EU Commission:
    Recommend the establishment of a fast channel at the border for people who need to cross more than once a day. To use this channel a special ID card with magnectic band would be required to allow authorities on both sides to control the identity of those entering and leaving Gibraltar for tax purposes as well as to target smuggling. For all other citizens with out the ID card, a full pasaporte/DNI border check would be required.

    This procedure would allow for freedom of movement while providing data to tackle tax evasion and smuggling.

  19. Ciudadanos
    A pure personal opinion.
    1. Ask any Spaniard if Gibraltar is Spanish and he will say yes. That’s what years of indoctrination does to you. But in reality, the ordinary Spaniard is far more concerned about unemployment, housing, reduction of health, social, educational services, pensions, corruption, illegal emigration etc.
    2. The recent riots in Burgos is a reflection of how fed up the ordinary Spaniard is with its politicians. Could we possibly contemplate the equivalent of an Arab spring in the Iberian Peninsular?
    3. Catalonia and the Basque Country are pulling their way. If they go, Spain as we know it would disintegrate.
    I reckon there hasn’t been a coup in Spain simply because the armed forces have been greatly weakened by severe cuts.
    Now let’s see which party will really be over?

  20. Cuidadanos, is this the way the modern Spaniard thinks ? EU Commission ? Special lanes ? Plastic cards with magnetic strips ?

    You want to come into the twenty-first century, son ! Cameras with number plate recognition software on the border – linked to traffic analysis programs identifying NIE/DNIs with direct links to the Hacienda is the way to go. Couple of sixth-formers in Britain could knock up an app like that for their weekend homework.

  21. Ciudadano
    Your written English is sound but your comments reflect the more conservative Spanish point of view.
    Pure conjecture.
    1. You are not directly affected by the economic/political crisis affecting your country otherwise you would be writing about subjects which are of greater concern to the ordinary Spaniard.
    2. I reckon you do not live in Spain.
    3. You have probably grown up/educated or have resided in the UK for a long time or might have even been born there.
    Out of curiosity, am I right?

  22. Ciudadanos – Catalunya and the Basque region are acute problems. Ceuta and Melilla, the scattered rocks around Africa would pose an even more acute problem. Menorca and the Canaries jumping on the bandwagon. AND NOW ANDALUSIA saying they want independence!!!! It gets better every day. NO ONE WANTS TO BE SPANISH hahahaha!!!!! Luckily in Gibraltar we don’t have the problem of being spanish like the other poor desgraciados. Very funny Ciudadanos you’ll be left along with your fascist friends all alone in la moncloa when spain stops existing. Stop crying.

  23. Ciudadanos, for your fast lane suggestion to work, Spain would have to leave the EU. Fat chance of that, considering Spain has never been a net contributor to the EU budget in nearly 30 years of membership, on top of that Spain gets huge amounts of money, billions, from the Common Agricultural and Fisheries funds not to mention all the “solidarity” funds which you seem to piss up against the wall.

    BTW, the UK is the second largest net contributor after Germany.

    And, everyone knows that more tobacco is smuggled into Spain via Algeciras port in a month than from Gibraltar in a year. Gibraltar is used by Madrid as pan y circo for people like you. The sad thing is you swallow it hook, line and sinker… No doubt thanks to the indoctrination mentioned by Fifi and an education system which does not teach critical thinking.

  24. I think we have given Ciudadanos enough attention and his recent lack of responses suggests he has surrendered in an argumentative not military sense as his forefathers have done many a times throughout history unless faced by unarmed natives.
    As a side note, The English Premier League gets more intriguing by the week. Can’t wait for my team Nottingham Forest to be promoted. Now these are subjects worth worrying about.

  25. OK chaps! It appears that I am the only one providing ideas, so here goes another one.

    Close the land border completely and instead, set up an hourly ferry service between Gibraltar and Algeciras. This would safeguard the freedom of movement of citizens on both sides of the border and would streamline the flow of traffic from Gibraltar with that from Ceuta and Morroco which would in turn, allow for a much better customs control service.

  26. I could not agree more with Yogi’s comment. Why doesnt Gibraltar increase the cigarette prices? They have the control above all and I dont find it surprising that there is a lot of smuggling going on. It is highly profitable and there are hardly any available jobs in La Linea.

    Raise the prices on cigarettes and if the prices on alcohol and petrol are being raised as well, there would hardly be any more boarder queue issues.

    Dear Gibraltarian govt, please stop complaining and start acting! Nobody wins on the situation as it is now!

  27. Another Yogi
    If we take your suggestion to an extreme, then every single article in the world, never mind Europe, should have the same price and then smuggling would be completely eradicated! Perhaps we should raise the price of a bottle of Soberano from the roughly 7 Euros in Spain to the £15 you might pay in U.K.
    1. If Gibraltar can afford to have low commodity prices why should it change this to the detriment of those who live, work or visit.
    2. Do you really think the raising of prices would prevent the border queues? Rather naïve, old chap. Don’t you realise the smuggling issue is just a pretence.
    Yes, there is bound to be those who will try to make money out of the difference in prices but this is nothing compared to the container loads coming through Algeciras, the amount smuggled by the “Spanish Navy” into Cartagena on the way back from the Canary Islands or the guys who bring it ashore along the hundreds of miles of unsupervised beaches while the “elite” black berets concentrate their efforts on the most scrutinised border in the E.U.
    Are you Ciudadano in disguise? Your written style is very similar!

  28. Ciudadanos really!!! When are you going to realize that spain cannot close the frontier unless spain leaves Europe and where would the funds come from to support the dying and disintegrating nation. Not much of an idea. Spain should lower prices on other goods as has been said, but have you not heard of free trade and competition? Obviously not. Gibraltarians win on the situation as it is now and/or forever because we will remain being British which is what Juan doesn’t want. Franco didn’t succeed neither will his heirs.

  29. Hey El Fifi,

    I am really me, not in disguise or anything ;) just a neutral guy looking at this boarder situation.

    You are taking this to the extreme.. I admit, there will clearly always be smuggling in the world. But Gibraltar is in an extreme situation, look at it yourself. Does it help this situation to compare it to other countries? I doubt that. Fact is Gibraltar is not exactly offering peaceful solutions here to overcome the misery, or am I missing something?

    To your 1st point, they should change it because at the end it has much more negative impact on the people that live and work in Gib than it has a positive. People that want to smoke, can still afford to buy cigarettes for example, especially in Gibraltar ;) and on a side note, if raising the prices makes people live healthier.. its just another win.

    To your 2nd point, I’d say its worth a try, at least the spanish govt would have to come up with a new creative excuse to stop every other car…

    What do you say?

  30. Another Yogi. The solution to the spanish problem with Gibraltar would be for the spaniards to just shut up and accept they gave it away and then accepted Florida and Menorca to keep them quiet and still they keep reneging on everything. Idiots.

  31. Another Yogi,
    Since this particular article was written, the frontier situation has gradually got better to the extent that today the traffic flow has been excellent.
    Does this mean that smuggling has been suddenly eradicated?
    I was born and raised in Gibraltar and I am the son of parents who were evacuated to the UK during the war. Apart from the four years I spent studying in Nottingham, I have always lived here therefore I speak with a considerable amount of local knowledge and experience.
    1. The sudden evaporation of the queues and the Gibraltar story in Spanish newspapers proves that this summer of discontent was just a political ploy by the PP government.
    Whenever a PP government comes into power it brings the Gibraltar situation to the fore particularly when Spain is experiencing severe problems.
    2. British diplomacy tends to be more subtle,quietly applying pressure behind the scenes. Though a few questions might be raised in both houses of parliament, their approach is more phlegmatic, cold and calculating.
    For example, tourism is one of the few areas succeeding in Spain. A high percentage of tourists are British. What if a hate campaign was orchestrated, something that can easily be done, to discourage UK tourists visiting Spain? What if Gibraltar accounts belonging to prominent Spanish individuals were published?
    There’s more to the Spanish queues and their sudden disappearance than meets the eye, mi amigo.

  32. El Fifi,
    Yes, I m sure there is more to it, much more and I am also sure that raising the prices would not solve the whole Gib-Spain conflict just like that. Btw, I appreciate your way of explaining yourself!

    I m not a local and dont understanding the whole conflict and can only imagine what difficult times your parents and their generation had to go through.

    I remember, some months ago, there were some inspectors from the EU community coming over to take a look at the frontier situation. I m sure they saw the dirty way the Spanish are handling it, hustle everyone to check their bags etc. BUT, I am sure they didn’t miss the fact that Gibraltar Govt is not doing anything to reduce smuggling (like raising prices). For me this is a major player, because Gibraltar is making such a huge amount (how much is the yearly income for tobacco, alcohol and petrol?) out of it. I m not saying its not Gibs right to offer these articles cheap, but to what cost for the local people and the ones working there (which is necessary, imagine what happens to the gaming companies if the foreigners leave)?

    I dearly understand that Spain is not happy with that. And they are using it to justify the frontier hustle in front of the EU community. But what if Gib takes that argument away? There are eyes on both sides and Spain is under a huge pressure to keep good relations to the EU due to their financial situation.

    Btw, I lived in different places with ongoing conflicts and can only say that if both sides are unable to overcome the emotions towards each other, there wont be any peaceful solution.
    Maybe Gib or UK are doing a lot to improve this conflict, but I’d rather have them doing it for us normalos to see as to me it doesn’t look like they have done many smart moves altogether.

  33. Animo, if you are interested in a peaceful situation, I’d recommend to start with yourself. I would not be interested to work together with you the way you express yourself and your utopias. Sorry mate!

  34. Another Yogi if the spanish politicos were not so illiterate they would realize what ceded in perpetuity means, and that they were given Florida and Menorca to shut them up and still they persist. No Utopia mate just the facts. They sign one treaty after another, take the benefits and then renege on everything. Bit like blackmailers who keep coming up back for more. Totally unreliable. We in Gibraltar have never lived under the shadow of fascism and don’t want it thank you very much. Democracy mate democracy something the spanish know nothing about. All they have to do is respect that we are different and live in harmony. Not that complex.

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