A record number of attempts to smuggle luxury handbags into Korea were foiled by customs at Incheon International Airport this summer. Incheon customs on Sunday said it caught 5,385 people who tried to smuggle in luxury handbags that exceeded the duty-free purchase limit between July 18 and the end of August, up 18 percent from a year ago.
A customs official said Chanel bags made up the biggest proportion, followed by Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Prada and Hermes. "We did not particularly tighten controls this year but detected a lot more attempted smuggling," he added. "That means the number of attempts has gone up."
Customs also foiled 369 cosmetics and 281 luxury clothing smuggling attempts, up 15.3 percent and 0.7 percent. Jewellery smuggling rose 27.7 percent to 263 attempts.
But liquor and luxury-watch smuggling attempts were down. A total of 5,737 attempts were foiled to smuggle liquor, down 21.1 percent from a year ago, and 646 cases for luxury watches, down 3.4 percent.
The customs official predicted the number of attempts to smuggle luxury goods will rise as the price of such products in Korea increases.
During the period, 1.33 million Koreans travelled overseas through Incheon, 0.4 percent fewer a year ago.