Number of contraband cases at checkpoints hits record high in 2018 | The New Paper

Number of contraband cases at checkpoints hits record high in 2018

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There were 107,771 contraband cases detected at Singapore's checkpoints last year, 19 per cent up from 90,327 the year before.

This averages out to about 300 cases a day in 2018.

This is the highest annual figure recorded, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said yesterday in its annual report. The agency said this was mainly due to a rise in contraband cases detected at the land checkpoints.

ICA commissioner Marvin Sim said the agency cleared more than 212 million travellers and 10 million consignments, containers and parcels last year.

The report said lorries and heavy commercial vehicles continued to be one of the most common modes of transport for contraband items, a trend ICA found to be "of concern". The "sheer size" of such vehicles allows large quantities of contraband items, or security-sensitive materials to be concealed.

To address some of these challenges, ICA introduced radiographic scanners to scan cargo vehicles and implemented bus scanners at Tuas Checkpoint last year.

The agency also revealed yesterday there had been an increase of about 13 per cent in the number of harbourers and employers of immigration offenders caught, from 300 in 2017 to 340 last year. Most were Singaporeans or permanent residents above 50 who failed to properly check foreigners' immigration statuses so they could earn money from rent.

The number of immigration offenders arrested fell about 8.9 per cent to 1,071 last year. - FABIAN KOH