Saturday, 8 July 2023
While Greek Cypriot garage owners have been up in arms about losing out to cheaper petrol sales in North Cyprus, Customs office spokesman for south Cyprus, George Constantinou, stated that any person crossing the border to the north solely to fill their car with fuel, faces a fine of €4 per litre of fuel purchased in the TRNC.
Constantinou said that there would be increased checks at border crossing points to prevent the purchase of cheaper fuel in North Cyprus. This means that private cars will also be subject to inspection.
“We have already noticed that when an official records the details of the crossing – fuel quantity and time of crossing – many people turn back and leave without crossing to the occupied areas”, he said.
The Greek Cypriot administration was clear that it is not illegal for Greek Cypriots to fill the cars with fuel in the north.
Last month, Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Christodoulides said that “I understand when it is for private use”.
This would appear to be in contradiction to what Constantinou has stated.
He also said that the main focus would be on checking commercial vehicles which may be used to illegally import cheaper fuel from the north. However, private vehicles will be checked as well.
He said that only recently, customs found 160 litres of petrol stored in eight containers in a saloon car.
Constantinou insisted that “private vehicles are also checked and the details of when they crossed are recorded so that if, upon their return, it is clear that they only went to the occupied areas to fill up and for no other reason, then a fine is imposed.
“For example, if someone crosses for just a few minutes and it is discovered through checks that they filled up then obviously this is unrelated to the Green Line Regulation – therefore the sole reason for crossing is to dodge taxes on fuel”.
These checks already exist, but would be intensified, he said. However, as a matter of policy, customs officers will pay more attention to private commercial vehicles – vans, mini-buses, taxis, trucks.
“For instance, any private vehicle with a company logo or such markings”.
Constantinou said the point is to “prevent abuse” of the Green Line Regulation, which allows for trade between the north and south.