The Maldives Customs Service has seized a substantial shipment of cigarettes, initially declared as tissue paper. After reports emerged on social media about the misdeclared shipment, the customs authority issued an official statement detailing the operation that led to the seizure.

On 19 May, following intelligence about potential misdeclaration, customs officials inspected a shipment purported to contain 343 cartons of tissue paper, the statement reads. The inspection revealed a different composition: 143 cartons of tissue paper alongside 200 master cartons of cigarettes, totalling over 3.1 million cigarettes.

This discovery, made during a targeted operation on Thursday, has prompted a full investigation by relevant authorities into the practices surrounding the importation, the customs authority said. It has confiscated the cigarettes and is proceeding with enforcement actions in accordance with import-export laws.

Cigarettes are one of the most heavily taxed items in the Maldives. Current taxes include a levy of MVR 3 per cigarette and an ad valorem rate of 25 percent on the price.