Kyrgyzstan: Booze ‘pumped into country through huge pipe'

Smugglers have been pumping thousands of litres of moonshine into Kyrgyzstan via a 500m (1,640ft) pipe, reports suggest.

Border guards discovered the 20cm-diameter "hose" stretched 500m under the River Chu, which forms the border with Kazakhstan near the city of Tokmok, according to the private Tengrinews website. It was apparently attached to rails at the bottom of the river.

Kazakhstan is one of the world's biggest grain producers and consequently spirits are very cheap there. However, after it joined the Customs Union - which includes Russia and Belarus - many exports to other regional neighbours were banned, forcing up the price of booze in Kyrgyzstan. Smugglers have reportedly been keen to cash in.