The National, Friday October 11th, 2013
By SHEILA MALKEN
FOUR men have been charged with being in possession of firearms, ammunition and drugs in Madang, following an operation by Customs and police officers.
PNG Customs Commissioner Ray Paul said the operation was carried out following intelligence reports indicating the prevalence of smuggling activities carried out under the cover of the betel nuts trade.
“The trade exists along the Bogia coastline, predominantly between people from Madang, Sepik and the Highlands,” Paul said.
The team conducted land and sea patrols along several locations in Bogia, especially where smuggling activities occurred.
Four high-powered firearms and a bag of marijuana were seized during the operation.
Paul said there were strong indication that such rifles were being smuggled through the PNG-Indonesian border in exchange for drugs brought from the Highlands.
“We see that this is something that continues to occur every day now and it is believed that intelligent people are doing this business and it is very critical,” Paul said.
He warned anyone engaging in these illegal activities or intending to do so to think twice.
“We will get to you because we now know where these activities are taking place,” he said.
“We know where the smuggling items are coming from so we will catch you.”
He appealed to people living in Bogia or along the northcoast to report to their nearest customs office any illegal activities.
He said PNG Customs was duty bound to secure PNG’s borders and to protect the community from goods that posed a threat to the lives of citizens.