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Policing the illicit trade of tobacco in Australia

Michael King (School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 7 January 2019




The purpose of this study is to identify factors that have led to the rebirthing of the illicit cultivation of tobacco in Australia known as chop-chop. Limited research has been conducted on the Commonwealth policing of tobacco-related criminal activity, but no prior studies have investigated domestic cultivation since the tobacco farming ceased legal production.


To fill the void of the literature, this study used data collected from Australian Government publications, court cases and newspapers to develop an understanding of the financial aspects and policing of the rebirth of chop-chop. Newspaper articles for a range of publications for a two-year period were used to examine policing efforts to disrupt criminals engaged in domestic cultivation of tobacco.


As tobacco was first legally grown in Australia, authorities have always faced the problems associated with the illicit cultivation of tobacco. Findings indicate that as a result of the increased number of successful interception of illicit tobacco at the border, the domestic cultivation of chop-chop is growing as criminal enterprises find alternative means to fund their activities.


The paper improves upon a neglected topic by offering a current contribution to a topic looking at the illicit tobacco, chop-chop trade.



King, M. (2019), "Policing the illicit trade of tobacco in Australia", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 146-161.



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