Smuggling via cargo lanes fall 25% at borders

Smuggling via cargo lanes fall 25% at borders
GOING HIGH-TECH FOR SECURITY: An ICA officer using an "identifinder" to detect radiation in a truck carrying construction sand at the Woodlands Checkpoint yesterday.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

THE number of smuggling cases detected among cargo vehicles at the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints fell by around a quarter last year, latest figures revealed.

There were 990 cases of contraband and prohibited items, including drugs and cigarettes, down from about 1,290 in 2014.

More than 1.8 million cargo vehicles, such as lorries, crossed the two land checkpoints in both directions, making them two of the busiest land crossings in the world.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), which announced the figures, is expecting a higher than usual volume of cargo vehicles in the lead-up to Chinese New Year.

On average, about 5,000 cross the checkpoints every day.

"Despite stringent checks, smuggling attempts have not ceased. Checks are therefore critical and necessary," said Superintendent Tan Kong Hui, deputy commander of ground operations at Woodlands Checkpoint yesterday.

"We will see an increase towards this Chinese New Year period. We will respond accordingly to the security climate (and) will maintain a certain level of checks on all modes of vehicles."

Yesterday, more than 1,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes and more than 19,000 sachets of chewing tobacco were seized at Woodlands Checkpoint in two Malaysia-registered vehicles.

The seized items, vehicles and the two Malaysian drivers, aged 18 and 41, were handed to Singapore Customs for investigations.

Meanwhile, the ICA and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority yesterday advised travellers - who intend to bring into Singapore festive goods or food from overseas - to check the guidelines before importing them.

For example, they are allowed to bring in a maximum of 5kg of seafood or meat products from the approved sources.

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