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05.07.2017

5 questions for Andrea Moor

In this section, we interview a person who gets things moving at Zurich Airport. Today's interviewee is Andrea Moor, Chief Customs Officer at Zurich Airport.

What does your job as Chief Customs Officer entail?
I'm currently working in the back office. Among other things, I supervise cash management, handle complaints, process prosecution files and help my colleagues in the travel department. Now and again I also work on the front line – checking passengers and their luggage in order to combat the smuggling of prohibited goods for example.

What items do you confiscate most often?
At the moment there are lots of cigarette smugglers carrying whole suitcases full of cigarette cartons. There are also many people arriving back from America who don't declare their overseas purchases on which duty is payable. We also often find meat from third countries that cannot be imported into Switzerland because of animal disease legislation.

What was the most unusual thing you ever found in someone's luggage?
In 2014 we found a case that had been stranded at Zurich Airport en route from Istanbul to Hong Kong. The whole case was full of rolled up skins of alligators, crocodile and snakes. I think that's the most unusual thing I've ever come across. However, there were also some spectacular finds before my time: one traveller attempted to smuggle the eggs of a protected species of parrot into Switzerland in his underpants. Another had taped lots of small packets of narcotics to his bald head then covered them with a toupee.

What are travellers allowed to bring into Switzerland without paying duty?
The limit for VAT is CHF 300. If anyone purchases items costing more than the equivalent of CHF 300 abroad, he or she must declare them to customs and then pay eight percent (or in some cases two and a half percent) VAT on the total value of the items. There are also some special rules for certain things like alcoholic drinks and tobacco goods.

What do you like best about your work at Zurich Airport?
My work is very varied. When I start work in the morning, I never know what the day will bring. I also really enjoy working with different people – and of course the atmosphere at the airport. I've now been working at the airport for seven years and every day I look forward to the great atmosphere and the good-humoured passengers and colleagues.

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