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Flight attendants caught smuggling goods from overseas trips: customs agency

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEJONG, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- Flight attendants continue to be caught smuggling goods from their overseas trips despite strict regulations enforced by airline companies, the customs agency here said Friday.

The Korea Customs Service (KCS) said that it has cracked down on smuggling involving flight attendants of both local and foreign airline companies in a total of 19 cases so far this year. The smuggled items were worth about a combined 44 million won (US$40,110).

The items that flight attendants tried to bring in without reporting to authorities include designer bags, watches, cosmetics and jewelry. Of them, designer bags remain their favorite.

The number of smuggling cases involving designer bags stood at 46 in 2010, but it declined to 27 in 2011 and 13 in 2012, respectively.

The number, however, appears to be growing again this year with 15 cases of such smuggling caught by the KCS as of August, the customs agency said.

In South Korea, flight attendants are obliged to report a purchase whose value exceeds $100 to customs authorities, which is much stricter than passengers for whom the ceiling is $400.

If the smuggled items are worth 20 million won or more, he or she could face criminal investigation.

The KCS said that it has caught a total of 142 cases of flight attendant-involved smuggling from 2009 until August this year, and their total value stood at 538 million won.

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