With support from Hamburg customs investigators, Swedish investigators have uncovered the smuggling of untaxed beer. In Malmö, the Swedes raided a family's home on Tuesday, which is said to have smuggled nearly six pallets of beer from Germany to Denmark, Sweden and Norway almost every day for a good two years, mostly in a pickup truck via the Öresund Bridge linking Denmark to Sweden. On each of these pallets, according to Swedish customs, there were 79 beer cartons.
Beer is heavily taxed in Sweden and is therefore much more expensive than in Germany. The tax damage goes into the millions, so the investigators. The suspicious family lives with a disabled child mainly from social assistance and money for the care of the daughter.
No quantity limit in the Bordershop
The goods should come from border shops, so-called Bordershops, on Fehmarn, from where the ferries go to Denmark. In these shops, Scandinavians are allowed to buy almost unlimited quantities of alcohol, provided they undertake to export it, as there is no deposit on cans and bottles. Also, the import is not subject to any quantity limitation, as long as the alcoholic beverages are intended for personal use. In Germany there are about 20 such Bordershops on the way to the north, the largest on Fehmarn and in Rostock.
The large price difference always attracts smugglers who want to tap into a lucrative source of income with the cheap beer from Germany. In search of such black sheep German customs investigators regularly check the export certificates, on which the buyers commit themselves to bring the goods out of the country. If there are any noticeable quantities then inform your Swedish colleagues.
It is hardly possible to catch the smugglers in the act. The Öresund Bridge alone passes around 20,000 vehicles a day. "We can not control all of them," says Oscar Lindvall of Swedish customs. "It would be helpful if Germany would limit the amounts of money being dispensed in the shops."
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