A Chinese national Wen Xin HAN (11 11 1981), living in Copeland Road, London, SE15, appeared at Camberwell Magistrates Court on 6th September 2018, charged with eight (8) offences of supplying tobacco products for consumption in the United Kingdom, which failed to comply with Regulation 5 and Regulation 7 of The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.
He pleaded guilty to all matters and was sentenced to 8 weeks imprisonment on each charge suspended for 12 months. A total custodial sentence of one (1) year and twenty (20) weeks imprisonment was imposed suspended for 12 months.
The case was brought as a private criminal prosecution by TM Eye on behalf of its client Japanese Tobacco International (JTI).
HAN operated his criminal business at Bovingdon market every Saturday. He sold fake ‘Amber Leaf’ and other tobacco products from the market and car park areas. TM Eye undercover operatives supported by TM Eye’s surveillance team carried out covert test purchases of counterfeit Amber Leaf tobacco from Han on 16th September 2017, 28th April 2018, 12th May 2018 and 19th May 2018. Each test purchase was covertly filmed and formed the evidence that led to the prosecution and conviction.
During an operation with Hertfordshire Police at Bovingdon Market on 28th April 2018, TM Eye detectives from their Illicit Tobacco Team seized a large amount of counterfeit Tobacco and cigarettes from HAN, that included:
Two (2) Golden Virginia hand-rolling tobacco,
Eight (8) packets of Richmond cigarettes.
Three (3) packets of Benson & Hedges cigarettes.
Six (6) packets of Marlboro Gold cigarettes.
Nine (9) packets of Lambert & Butler cigarettes.
Twenty (20) pouches of Amber leaf hand-rolling tobacco
Three (3) X 200 sleeves of Benson & Hedges cigarettes.
Two (2) X 200 sleeves of Richmond cigarettes.
Three (3) X 200 Marlboro Gold cigarettes
Four (4) X 200 Lambert & Butler cigarettes.
Fifty five (55) pouches of Amber Leaf hand-rolling tobacco.
Fifty (50) pouches of Golden Virginia hand-roling tobacco.
HAN was arrested for immigration offences and remains under investigation by the Border Agency.
On Saturday 7th July 2018, TM Eye detectives from their Illicit Tobacco Team attended Bovingdon market with Hertfordshire Police officers and served the criminal summons on Han.
TM Eye Director David McKelvey said, “HAN operated a criminal enterprise at Bovingdon market selling a huge amount of fake tobacco and cigarettes every Saturday. These products are dangerous and often contain pollutants and chemicals such as asbestos.
TM Eye’s Illicit Tobacco Team working on behalf of JTI carried out surveillance and covert test purchases leading to his arrest, the seizure of a huge amount of fake tobacco and cigarettes and his subsequent prosecution and conviction.
Despite having been arrested on 28th April 2018, HAN returned to the market and continued his criminal trade. He was evidenced again by our undercover team.
TM Eye will robustly enforce the law in relation to the supply or sale of illicit tobacco that damages our client JTI and damages the UK economy.”