Dozens of Kosovo Serbs Protest Customs’ Confiscation of Illegal Alcohol. Photo: BIRN.

Dozens of Kosovo Serbs Protest Customs’ Confiscation of Illegal Alcohol

Confiscation of over 40,000 liters of illegally produced alcohol opposed by dozens of Kosovo Serb villagers in south.

Many Kosovo Serbs protested on Thursday in the village of Hoçë e Madhe/Velika Hoca in Rahovec as Customs officers confiscated 42,000 liters of unreported alcohol from a local citizen.

On Wednesday, Kosovo Customs seized the beverages after raiding a store where alcohol is sold in the village of Hoçë e Madhe.

According to Customs, the drinks were produced in an illegitimate manner.

“Officials have found that in addition to the store, the responsible person also operates the production of alcoholic beverages without authorization from Kosovo Customs, contrary to the relevant norms of the Customs and Excise Code,” Customs said.

The police spokesperson for the region of Gjakova, Sheremet Elezaj, said the action was continuing on Thursday but Customs had asked for help from the police due to the gatherings of citizens.

Customs said the citizen had not registered the activity as a business in the Kosovo Business Registration Agency and therefore did not comply with its reporting requirements for wine production.

Customs said he had damaged the state budget by around 38,000 euros.

“The person acted completely in disregard of the legal regulation and has caused damage to the budget in the amount of about 38,000 euros only for the part of the liabilities for the stock encountered during the control”.

This unregistered business, which is not subject to sanitary and hygienic controls, according to Customs, also poses a risk to people’s health

The director of the Office for Kosovo in the Government of Serbia, Petar Petkovic, on Wednesday on Twitter called it a new “terror” attack by PM Albin Kurti on the Serbs in Kosovo.

“He [Kurti] sent his police to the centre of Hoça e Madhe to confiscate 40,000 liters of wine from one of Petrović’s oldest vineyards. The locals came together to protect their neighbor because they will not allow Kurti’s terror,”- he wrote.

Regarding that report, Kosovo Customs emphasized that other businesses of Serbian citizens operating in the same village respect their legal obligations.

“In the same village, two authorized businesses for the same products operate with the owner a citizen of Kosovo of Serbian ethnicity and they pay all legal obligations. The action of illegal businesses constitutes unfair competition to legal businesses,” Kosovo Customs stated.

08/12/2022 - 19:38

08 December 2022 - 19:38

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