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Shopping abroad? Customs is watching you

The Page Three and pullouts of leading newspapers, dealing with the good life of the rich and famous, have a new set of readers -- the customs officials.

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MUMBAI: The Page Three and pullouts of leading newspapers, dealing with the good life of the rich and famous, have a new set of readers -- the customs officials.

"We are scanning these pages and also watching various TV programmes to keep track of reports quoting celebrities and frequent shoppers abroad," a customs official said.

"These reports often mention about what these people have splurged on during their recent shopping spree or their plans to buy designer items in their forthcoming trips", he said.
   
Recently, customs officials at the Mumbai international airport found that wife of a business tycoon, who had arrived from Europe along with a few friends, had failed to declare items which included mink and fur items and expensive purses.
   
"After the incident, she and others in the group were forced to pay duty and final penalty of around Rs 13 lakh", he said.
   
In another incident, daughter of a Pune-based builder recently bought expensive diamond-studded watches from her foreign jaunt and paid a duty of Rs 12 lakh at the airport, the official said.

"Airport customs officials are scanning newspapers and TV shows featuring the jet-set to keep abreast of their indulgences, so that when they come from their much-publicised shopping jaunt the next time, the officials are ready for them", he said.

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