Man caught with telescopic lens claims it was a souvenir

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A MAN who brought in a telescopic sight from overseas, said he had bought it thinking that it was a toy.
Karl Sopol said he was not aware that it was an illegal item as it was sold openly and cheaply in the streets in China, and he had bought it thinking it was fine to take it with him as a souvenir.
Sopol was held by a Customs officer last week at the Jackson Airport when he arrived from China via
Manila for being in possession of the item which was believed to be an attachment for firearms.
He added that the Chinese and the Philippines customs officials had gone through his luggage but did not notify him that what he had in his possession was contraband when he boarded his flight and transitted between the two countries.
He said he was not an expert in firearms and did not know that what he had brought would land him in trouble.
Sopol, who is a senior official with a government department, said he had cooperated well with the Customs officials and handed the telescope over, along with his personal details to the authority to deal with the issue as they saw fit.
He apologised for inconveniences caused by him being reported as trying to smuggle the telescope and reiterated that what he had done, made him breach the travel regulations unintentionally.
He said reports that he had wrapped the item with cloth to conceal it were not true.
Sopol further stated that his name and reputation was tarnished and he would seek legal advice on the matter.