RIGA - Approximately half a mission contraband cigarettes were confiscated at Riga Central Market last year, State Police Riga Regional Department Chief Juris Sulte told members of the press today.
In total, about eight million cigarettes were confiscated in Riga last year. Meanwhile, around 52.2 million illegal cigarettes were seized throughout Latvia last year, an increase of 28 million compared to 2018.
Sulte along with other officials, including Mayor of Riga Olegs Burov (Honor to Serve Riga) and Interior Minister Sandis Girgens (KPV LV), today arrived at Riga Central Market where the dismantling of illegal kiosks has begun. Illegal cigarette dealers have been active in this area of the market for many years.
Girgens admitted to reporters that despite the fact that police have issued thousands of fines for the sale of illegal cigarettes over the years, these sales have continued to flourish.
The Saeima has now been submitted amendments to the law to criminalize such offenders, but the minister is of the opinion that politicians are in no hurry yet to adopt the law.
However, he expressed hope that members of the Saeima will understand the seriousness of the problem and swiftly adopt the mentioned amendments, as millions of euros are not being transferred to the state budget as a result of such illegal activities.
As reported, work got under way this morning to take down the kiosks illegally built in the territory of Riga Central Market, LETA observed.