Too many smugglers and illegal foreigners in PNG, says Juffa

National, Normal

PAPUA New Guinea is fast becoming a destination for transnational smugglers and criminals, Customs Commissioner Gary Juffa said.
He said this in a statement yesterday following the arrest of two Japanese expatriates by Lae police.
The duo were found by Customs to have entered PNG illegally last week.
Mr Juffa said a search and inspection exercise by the PNG Customs services border response unit (Northern region) of a foreign fishing vessel revealed the two were unable to tender valid travel documents to Customs officers.
The search also revealed substantial amounts of contraband that included pornographic material and undeclared cigarettes and alcohol.
“We are finding far too many foreigners who have entered PNG legally and illegally who are involved in illicit business activities, siphoning out proceeds from these illegal activities out of PNG without paying taxes or duties.
“We need to aggressively discourage these entities while protecting legitimate foreign investments and PNG interests with affirmative action,” Mr Juffa said.
He said the laws were outdated and needed to be amended to protect the country from being exploited by transnational smugglers and criminals.
According to border response unit director Francis Nipuru, the two Japanese are being detained pending deportation.
Mr Nipuru confirmed that the two were fined K2,500 by the Lae district courts despite the prosecution requesting the maximum penalty of K5,000.
Mr Juffa said Customs had stepped up its efforts to tighten up border security and community security.
Meanwhile, the fishing vessel mv Wakaba Maru No 8 operated by Frabelle Fisheries in which the two were caught was also detained by police.
Attempts to get comments from Frabelle management yesterday were unsuccessful.