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Number of residents who buy contraband goods decreasing in Latvia

RIGA - The number of persons who buy contraband goods has been decreasing in Latvia, but still remains rather high, Arnis Kaktins, head of the research center SKDS, said today during a forum on measures against smuggling.

According to a study carried out by SKDS, 11 percent of respondents in Latvia have bought contraband cigarettes or tobacco this year, 5 percent - contraband fuel, and 4 percent - contraband alcohol. In 2013, 27 percent of respondents said that they had bought contraband cigarettes or tobacco and 15 percent had bought contraband fuel and alcohol.

"The decrease is obvious, however, the number of those who buy contraband goods is still rather high," said Kaktins.

He said that, while the average number of residents who buy contraband cigarettes and tobacco is 11 percent in Latvia, the proportion is higher in Latgale where 16 percent buy contraband cigarettes and tobacco, and 8 percent - contraband fuel.

When asked why they prefer to buy contraband goods, most said that they were cheaper, 18 percent said their quality was no different from the quality of goods available in stores, and 8 percent said they bought contraband goods to spite the state.

76 percent of respondents said that they had not bought any contraband goods during the past month.

When asked whether they knew where to buy contraband goods, each third said he or she would know where to buy contraband cigarettes, each fourth - contraband alcohol, and 12 percent - where to buy contraband fuel. In Latgale, 25 percent said they knew where to buy contraband fuel.

Kaktins also said that, according to the latest survey, 20 percent of respondents agreed that measures against smuggling in Latvia were successful, while in 2013, only 8 percent said so.

SKDS carried out the survey this past May, interviewing 1,017 residents.

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