You’ll never guess what contraband tops the list of Customs seizures

 

Drugs and endangered species might hog the headlines‚ but most Customs busts involve counterfeit goods.

Revealing that goods worth more than R1.7-billion were confiscated in the first half of the year‚ the SA Revenue Service said on Friday that 82% of them (by value) were counterfeit clothes‚ shoes and other goods.

On average‚ there were just over 18 counterfeit goods busts every day‚ compared with fewer than two for narcotics.

The value of confiscations in the first half of 2018 was just 5% higher than in the same period of 2017‚ even though the number of busts more than doubled.

In order of value‚ SARS said some of the statistics from the January-June period included:

• Counterfeit clothing‚ footwear and other goods: 3‚351 busts valued at R1‚414‚740‚024;

• Narcotics: 339 busts valued at R171‚177‚653;

• Currency: 13 busts valued at R52‚903‚426;

• Viagra and Viagra generics: 97 busts valued at R40‚441‚400;

• Cigarettes: 159 busts valued at R33‚345‚064; and

• Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (including endangered species such as abalone): 16 busts valued at R13‚996‚635.

The acting head of Customs and Excise‚ Beyers Theron‚ said there was more his officers could do to make inroads into the illicit economy. “We need to start looking at trends and patterns and becoming more strategic in the way we are dealing with some of these risks‚” he said.

OR Tambo International Airport‚ in Johannesburg‚ features strongly in the SARS list of high-profile busts between January and June:

• Ketamine and methaqualone (precursors to mandrax) with an estimated value of R32-million‚ en route from Kenya to South Africa‚ seized at OR Tambo on April 10;

• Methaqualone with an estimated value of R30-million en route from China to South Africa‚ seized at OR Tambo on January 31;

• Generic Viagra valued at R30-million en route from India to South Africa‚ seized at OR Tambo on May 13;

• Currency (US dollars and British pounds) totalling R15-million en route from South Africa to Dubai‚ seized at OR Tambo on February 1;

• Abalone with an estimated value of R10-million en route from South Africa to China‚ seized at Port Elizabeth harbour on January 26;

• Currency (rands and US dollars) totalling R6‚992‚569‚ en route from South Africa to Mauritius‚ seized at OR Tambo on May 4;

• Currency (rands) totalling R6‚332‚008 en route from South Africa to Dubai‚ seized at OR Tambo on March 27;

• Generic Viagra valued at R4-million en route from India to South Africa‚ seized at OR Tambo on January 15;

• Abalone with an estimated value of R2.37-million en route from South Africa to Sri Lanka via Dubai‚ seized at Durban harbour on February 21;

• 1‚766‚200 cigarettes seized at Beit Bridge border post on April 17; and

• 500‚000 cigarettes seized at Beit Bridge border post on April 27.

by Dave Chambers 

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