Smuggling And Why It Can Be Dangerous

The reasons for smuggling goods var­ies, though it is always nefarious. Governments enact blanket laws to tackle undeclared goods being transported across borders. The profit-minded approach involved with smuggling goods
28 Apr 2018 11:00
Smuggling And Why It Can Be Dangerous

The reasons for smuggling goods var­ies, though it is always nefarious.

Governments enact blanket laws to tackle undeclared goods being transported across borders.

The profit-minded approach involved with smuggling goods can have a devastating ef­fect on local businesses.

FRCS defines smuggling as the unauthor­ised movement of undeclared and uncus­tomed goods across the border, whether it be importing or exporting with the intention to defraud customs revenue.

Importation of prohibited imports as de­scribed in Schedule 1 of Customs Prohib­ited (imports) and (exports) Regulation 1986 is also an offence.

Exportation of prohibited exports as de­scribed in Schedule 6 of Customs Prohib­ited (imports) and (exports) Regulation 1986 is also an offence

Smuggling of alcohol and cigarettes

Smuggling of high dutiable goods, such as alcohol and tobacco remains a major concern for Customs administrations around the world.

Other areas of concern are commer­cial fraud activities such as undervalua­tion, misclassification, misuse of origin and preferential duties, drawback fraud, among others.

Borders and ports of entry are the en­trance and exit points for all people, goods and craft entering or departing a country.

Controlling borders and ports of entries are vital in order to ensure the rule of law and prevent or disrupt the flow of crimi­nal activity.

All borders, whether seaports or air­ports are vulnerable to this threat.

Due primarily to commercial fraud, smuggling of tobacco and tobacco prod­ucts continues to be a global phenomenon that contributes to transnational organ­ised crime, adversely impacts revenue collection, and undermines public health objectives

The role of customs enforcement is to effectively protect society and secure the collection of legally due revenue by fight­ing against cross-border crimes.

In discharging this mandate, customs compliance and enforcement teams are involved in a wide range of activities ranging from combating commercial fraud; counterfeiting; smuggling of ciga­rettes, alcohol, motor spirits, and drugs and precursors; money laundering and terrorist financing.

Electronic crime; wildlife trafficking; smuggling of arms, nuclear materials, ozone depleting substances, toxic waste, weapons of mass destruction and traf­ficking of cultural artefacts have also been identified are also included in this list.

Interception at the Lautoka Port

Smuggled goods worth more than $120,000 was uncovered in a cargo con­tainer at Lautoka during a Customs In­spection this month.

The smuggled goods consisted of about 152 cartons of Chinese cigarettes and 77 cartons of Chinese wine.

The detection is an outcome of continu­ous monitoring and profiling of suspi­cious importation transaction trading pattern at the Lautoka Port.

Earlier this financial year, Fiji Revenue and Customs Service raised concern with regards to the increase in sales of Chi­nese cigarette and Chinese alcohol in the Fiji market.

From the various reports received there is great suspicious the smuggling of these goods.

It is also noted that there are sophisti­cated smuggling method like the use of pipes, electrical appliances as conceal­ment materials.

In the latest raid, it was uncovered that smuggled items were well concealed with­in genuine declared goods for example the use of cartons of hard drive to mix smug­gled cigarette with genuine hard drive.

Revenue leakages

Revenue leakage and flourishing under­ground currency from smuggling cause major impacts to the community and in­dividuals.

Smuggling encourages organised crime and corruption, and robs the Government of the much needed revenue.

FRCS is equally concerned with the health impact and health complication such smuggled goods bring to our shores.

The unidentified ingredients and harm­ful compounds manufactured in smuggled cigarette or smuggled alcohol or wine is a fact that threatens the health of users.

On the other hand, the increase in duty for cigarette and alcohol as a deterrent factor for family violence and increase in non-communicable diseases cases is com­promised and the health risks for users start rising.

The unplanned burden to the health sys­tem drastically increase and the cost is borne by the taxpayers.

Another threat is the sale of cigarettes at a lower price which distorts the local industries.

Smuggling enhances unfair trading practices and inspires harmful lifestyles in the society.

The recent seizure of smuggled ciga­rettes and alcohol has sent out warning to those involved in this illicit trade that customs is profiling trading patterns for those involve in importation of unde­clared, smuggled and other suspicious importation into Fiji.

Contraband in the Asia Pacific region

The sale of counterfeit goods and medi­cines has become an important profit-ma­chine for transnational crime syndicates, accounting for about one-third of the val­ue of transnational crime flows, accord­ing to the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime.

In total, contraband markets in the Asia Pacific region are valued about $90 billion and are broken down into four categories which are human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, illicit drugs, specifically heroin and methamphetamine and coun­terfeit goods and fraudulent medicines.

About 75 per cent of the counterfeit products seized worldwide from 2008 to 2010 were made in East Asia, primarily China, according to the World Customs Organisation.

Fake goods can pose serious risks to un­suspecting consumers, as they are often of poor or unknown quality and do not undergo proper safety testing, this is par­ticularly dangerous if the goods are for human consumption.

Risk management and targeting systems is a vital for high risk trader database.

Sharing of information domestically and internationally through customs en­forcement network and use of mutual col­laboration with Customs to Customs to comprehend safe and secure border glob­ally.

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