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Everyone who has seen the classic 1930s movie Some like it hot will remember the moment in the opening car chase through the streets of Chicago when police open fire on a hearse-load of gangsters; as the coffin takes a few hits from the police, it becomes evident that it was packed with bottles of illicit alcohol. Something similar happened recently in Poland when a hearse, returning from a journey to deliver a body for burial in neighbouring Ukraine, was subjected to a routine search by border customs officers. But this time the contents were not alcohol, but more than three thousand packs of contraband cigarettes. As if echoing the Chicago scene, a Polish customs spokeswoman said: “We’ve found liquor in coffins, but cigarettes in a hearse, that’s a new one.” Perhaps it was a new form of one-stop trading by enterprising undertakers: import cigarettes, sell them, leave your business card, and hope to collect the smoker later for the usual procedures.
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