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Tobacco Companies Linked to Criminal Organizations

Tobacco Companies Linked to Criminal Organizations in Lucrative Cigarette Smuggling

When Tommy Chui failed to show up at the grand opening of his wife’s new boutique in downtown Singapore, alarm bells rang 1,600 miles away in the offices of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption. It was March 29, 1995, and the news that Chui was missing devastated the commission’s assistant director, Tony Godfrey. He immediately sent two investigators to Singapore. Three days later, on April 1, his worst fears were realized. Dockworkers found Chuis bloated body floating in Singapore Harbor. A former director of British American Tobaccos biggest distributor of contraband cigarettes to China and Taiwan, the 38-year-old Chui had been abducted, ritually tortured, gagged, suffocated and thrown into the harbor just weeks before he was to testify against his ex-associates. Chui was the star prosecution witness in an international tobacco smuggling investigation launched in 1993 by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption. He was about to blow the lid off a $1.2 billion smuggling operation to China and Taiwan and implicate three former British American Tobacco executives in a HK$100 million bribery scandal. In addition, his testimony was key to the prosecution of his two former business associates, several corrupt customs officers and various members of Asias most notorious criminal gang, the Triad.

Read more on this report at the The Center for Public Integrity

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