Customs: Foreign syndicates testing our effectiveness

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday 08th Febuary 2012

THE Papua New Guinea Customs Services suspects that foreign crime syndicates are testing the organisation’s effectiveness in protecting the country’s borders from illegal activities.
This follows the recent discovery of merchandise such as cigarettes being smuggled into the country at the ports of entry.
John Pomoso, Customs deputy commissioner regional operations, made the observation after two foreigners of Asian origin working in the country were recently caught trying to smuggle foreign brand cigarettes into the country through the Jackson International Airport.
“Unconfirmed intelligence suggested that foreign organised crime syndicates may now be testing Customs’ effectiveness at the Jackson International Airport to see where its weaknesses may be in order to pass through illegal drugs such as cocaine, ice or similar drugs,” Pomoso said.
A 56-year-old foreigner was caught last month with 18 cartons of foreign brand cigarettes.
Another one was caught on Feb 2 with the same merchandise in his possession. The 30-year-old Filipino, employed by PNG LNG project, arrived in Port Moresby on an Air Niugini flight from Manila.
“This was not the first time for him to travel to PNG. The Malboro brand cigarettes were found to be carefully concealed in a large sealed tin can in the foreigner’s suitcase,” Pomoso said. 
 The sealed tin can was exposed by the x-ray machine.
“The passenger claimed that the tin contained food. But upon opening the tin with a can opener, customs officers discovered that the contents of the tin can were not food but cigarettes,” Pomoso said.
“Customs’ stand on smuggling, trans-national crime and corruption at the beginning of this year is no different to that of previous years.”