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Old 29.03.2011, 17:30
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Was the customs officer right or wrong?

i and a friend went shopping first time in Marktkauf close to switzerland border...and bought about 1kg meat each costing 10euro. Only to get at the border, and we were checked and charged double the amount for carrying over half kilo meat into switzerland to our ignorance. And if we donot pay right away we will be bill 50 chf each. But the thing is that...we did not even have money to pay the fine (this is the reason we went shopping in germany in the first place) and i was ready to return the meat rather than pay such amount.But to my amazement the custom guy ask for our wallets and went on to search for money and ofcourse forcefully took money for a bill i kept aside. Dont i have the right to return the meat or dump it in Germany? And why should he after showing him my pass went on to take my wallet to search for money? I was so angry that i told him he has no right to forcefully take money ...but said we are at the custom so he has right to check us. right now i am so angry with the whole issue..because some people i met after told us they have no right to take our money forcefully and also we have the right to return the meat back than pay. Some said i should go to the police. Please tell me your views.
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Old 29.03.2011, 17:34
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

Did you not explain who you were?
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Old 29.03.2011, 17:36
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

AFAIK if you have been "caught" then no, you don't have the right.

If, on the other hand, you had declared the goods and asked the question, then they might have let you take the goods back.

Put it another way, if you hadn't been asked/declared, would you have voluntarily paid the extra duty on the goods your purchased? Answer is probably not (as you didn't know), and that is the assumption that the border guards (or whatever they are called, Wolli) will have made. Therefore you are guilty of having tried to bring an item into CH without paying the proper duty on said items. In this case, yes, they can take your money. Heck, they could have strip searched you too if they felt they needed to.

Now, be honest, were you caught or did you declare?

PS: ignorance of the law, is, as ever, no excuse.
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Old 29.03.2011, 17:43
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

We were not planning on taking any thing prohibited into Switzerland because we know we will be checked at the border. So we were not sneaking in or even aware that that amount of meat is prohibited. If we know...we would not be stupid to do that....rather be ready even go to Markkauft twice to buy the amount of meat. So this is not a sneaking or intent business.
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Old 29.03.2011, 17:46
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

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We were not planning on taking any thing prohibited into Switzerland because we know we will be checked at the border. So we were not sneaking in or even aware that that amount of meat is prohibited. If we know...we would not be stupid to do that....rather be ready even go to Markkauft twice to buy the amount of meat. So this is not a sneaking or intent business.
Unfortunately what you are or were planning to do is irrelevant.

What you did is relevant.

If you did not voluntarily declare the goods and ask the question, then you are guilty when found to have goods over the limit. Irrespective of whether you know the law or not.

You then have to pay extra duty. You don't have the right to say "oops you caught me, I'll take it back." which is what it looks like to the customs officers.

Whether they have the right to take money from you like they did, tbh, I don't know. But I suspect that they do. You could try a lengthy court case, but then it would just show that they do, and then you'd have to pay the court fees + an additional fine...
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Old 29.03.2011, 17:48
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

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We were not planning on taking any thing prohibited into Switzerland because we know we will be checked at the border. So we were not sneaking in or even aware that that amount of meat is prohibited. If we know...we would not be stupid to do that....rather be ready even go to Markkauft twice to buy the amount of meat. So this is not a sneaking or intent business.
Yes ok we believe you. You didnt answer the question though. Did you declare the meat?
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Old 29.03.2011, 17:49
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

Best is to be informed BEFORE you bring anything:

http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en
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Old 29.03.2011, 17:55
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

Probably the title of the thread ought to be changed to "customs officer".

Normally, if you have more than the limit, then you have to stop and declare it. You will then pay the duty. If you don't declare it, then you will pay double the duty. It is unfortunate what happened but you should just take this as a learning experience. You probably didn't have to pay very much, did you? Just be glad that you didn't bring in a bottle of spirits! A friend of mine did that by accident and had to pay 35 CHF x 2!
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:03
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

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Unfortunately what you are or were planning to do is irrelevant.

What you did is relevant.

If you did not voluntarily declare the goods and ask the question, then you are guilty when found to have goods over the limit. Irrespective of whether you know the law or not.

You then have to pay extra duty. You don't have the right to say "oops you caught me, I'll take it back." which is what it looks like to the customs officers.

Whether they have the right to take money from you like they did, tbh, I don't know. But I suspect that they do. You could try a lengthy court case, but then it would just show that they do, and then you'd have to pay the court fees + an additional fine...
on your high horse much?

look, the guy got caught with an extra steak in his bag, not illicit drugs. the customs guard has the right to confiscate the contraband and demand identification. but he doesn't have the right to grab his wallet and pull the money out for the fine himself. he probably saw OP as some foreigner who may or may not pay the fine if billed later so he thought he'd do some quick justice and abuse his position relative to a foreigner to force payment of the fine right there. that's wrong.
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:06
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

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on your high horse much?

look, the guy got caught with an extra steak in his bag, not illicit drugs. the customs guard has the right to confiscate the contraband and demand identification. but he doesn't have the right to grab his wallet and pull the money out for the fine himself. he probably saw OP as some foreigner who may or may not pay the fine if billed later so he thought he'd do some quick justice and abuse his position relative to a foreigner to force payment of the fine right there. that's wrong.
On my high horse?!? EF-off!

I gave him my take matter of fact. Didn't see any comment about what I thought was right or wrong...

There were two questions:
1) can I take it back
2) can he take the money

Take a look and see if I was on my high-horse. Looks like you should be able to tell from yours...
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:06
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

i dont understand ``declaring the meat`... avoiding what?`` Do you mean go to tell them specifically i bought meat...i bought a whole lot of other food items(the meat is the smallest part)...normally people are checked at the border so we were not the first...so what is declaring? Anyway i go the point: ignorance of the law is no excuse.
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:07
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

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But the thing is that...we did not even have money to pay the fine
Yes, you did.
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..money for a bill i kept aside..
Do you/your friend not have a Maestro card ? Swiss customs usually allow to pay custom duties and fines using the bankcard. If you were at the border crossing right next to the Marktkauf: I paid duties myself using my Maestro card at that crossing.
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:09
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

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on your high horse much?

look, the guy got caught with an extra steak in his bag, not illicit drugs. the customs guard has the right to confiscate the contraband and demand identification. but he doesn't have the right to grab his wallet and pull the money out for the fine himself. he probably saw OP as some foreigner who may or may not pay the fine if billed later so he thought he'd do some quick justice and abuse his position relative to a foreigner to force payment of the fine right there. that's wrong.
Ignorance <> innocence. You can bet the customs officer heard the same story 100 times this week already..."I have no money to pay the duty on my contraband!"

If he or she let you go back over the border, the risk is that you conceal the merchandise to try to sneak back across the border. I know someone who did this and just avoided serious consequences (play customs officers as stupid at your own behest).

I do look forwards to your "I was speeding but did not know it" thread, btw.

Immediate advice: get over it. Learn. Do not repeat.
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:10
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

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i dont understand ``declaring the meat`... avoiding what?`` Do you mean go to tell them specifically i bought meat...i bought a whole lot of other food items(the meat is the smallest part)...normally people are checked at the border so we were not the first...so what is declaring? Anyway i go the point: ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Take a look at Prof T's link - if it is the one I am thinking of, it has explanations in Eng as well as D/F/I.

e.g. "pure" meat, "processed" meat, wine, alcohol and tabacco have different duties vs. other foods.

Another thread is this one: Cross border tax allowance
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:16
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

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Ignorance <> innocence. You can bet the customs officer heard the same story 100 times this week already..."I have no money to pay the duty on my contraband!"

If he or she let you go back over the border, the risk is that you conceal the merchandise to try to sneak back across the border. I know someone who did this and just avoided serious consequences (play customs officers as stupid at your own behest).

I do look forwards to your "I was speeding but did not know it" thread, btw.

Immediate advice: get over it. Learn. Do not repeat.
OP wasn't complaining about the rules being enforced as they are. he's complaining that the goon forcibly took money out of his wallet to pay the fine. you must be in crazy land if you think it's ok for some agent of the state to deprive him of his money without any sort of due process. i bet if OP were a swiss citizen, the customs agent would have wrote him a fine and then REQUESTED payment, not forcibly taken payment.
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:18
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

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Now, be honest, were you caught or did you declare?

PS: ignorance of the law, is, as ever, no excuse.
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On my high horse?!? EF-off!

I gave him my take matter of fact. Didn't see any comment about what I thought was right or wrong...

There were two questions:
1) can I take it back
2) can he take the money

Take a look and see if I was on my high-horse. Looks like you should be able to tell from yours...
i quoted the wrong post from you but i stand by what i said.
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:20
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

scambled, I hear what you're saying but be the customs officer. All day, every day, people are trying it on.

I think you'll find they can do what they want if you're clearly over the limit. But they do accept payment with EFT - so Maestro, etc are OK.

We are not getting the full story, trust me. I know some of these people and have had the priveledge of paying up without cash.
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:24
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

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i quoted the wrong post from you but i stand by what i said.
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OP wasn't complaining about the rules being enforced as they are. he's complaining that the goon forcibly took money out of his wallet to pay the fine. you must be in crazy land if you think it's ok for some agent of the state to deprive him of his money without any sort of due process. i bet if OP were a swiss citizen, the customs agent would have wrote him a fine and then REQUESTED payment, not forcibly taken payment.
That doesn't make it illegal, and until you show me it is illegal, then I'll stand by what I've written.

Have you never heard of cases where people are taken by the police to stations to pay or to the nearest cash point? 'Cos I have.

As I said, customs can pretty much do whatever they want if they think they have "reasonable grounds".
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:25
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Re: Was the customs officer right or wrong?

Ok, I do not think the customs officer had the right to search her wallet, they have the right to search if they think you are bringing something illegal into the country but your wallet?
Unfortunately this is not so uncommon, when crossing the border with Italy we got 3 customs officers and I opened my wallet looking for some receipts and he just took them and then said oh not it's ok...I felt a bit uncomfortable but since I was not carrying anything illegal and I was calmed I said nothing. To OP well you are not supposed to bring more than 500 grams of meat per person to CH, not that nobody does it, but it is the law, still I think I would also be upset at the trespassing of my personal space (and wallet)!!!
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Old 29.03.2011, 18:25
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Re: Is the immigrant officer right or wrong?

Those people at the border are authorised to use rubber gloves.

I see no complaint here.

HTH
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