Press Release:
Undeclared cigarettes found hidden in passenger's luggage

The PNG Customs Service is once again advising all international travellers to respect and abide by Papua New Guinea's laws by refraining from engaging in illegal activities.

Ray PaulCaretaker Commissioner John Pomoso issued this advice after Customs officers at the Jacksons International Airport detained 18 undeclared cartons of a foreign brand cigarettes from an incoming passenger last week, who was attempting to conceal and transport the cargo past Customs.

Customs believe that the undeclared cartons of cigarettes would have fetched over K3,000 if sold in Port Moresby, had they not been detected. Mr. Pomoso said the foreigner would have paid only K900 in import duty had he declared his cargo, but instead ended up paying K2,700 after the penalty cost was added to the import duty.

Ray Paul"Customs does not tolerate foreigners who are ignorant or show little or no respect at all for PNG's laws, whilst travelling in for work or to engage in business activities", Mr. Pomoso stated. "This is not the first time, there have been many similar instances in the past."

The foreigner, a 56-year-old Filipino, is employed within the PNG LNG Project. He arrived in Port Moresby on an Air Niugini flight from Hong Kong. This was not the first time for him to travel to PNG.

Ray PaulThe 'Mighty' brand cigarettes were found to be carefully concealed in a home-made secret compartment within the foreigner's suitcase as well as two other smaller baggages he was carrying.

"Customs stand on smuggling, transnational crime and corruption at the beginning of this New Year is no different to that of the previous years", Mr. Pomoso added. "Already this year, an importer was arrested and charged in Lae for attempting to bribe a Customs officer while a Customs officer was arrested and charged last Friday for attempting to solicit money from an importer."

Anyone with information on such practices can contact the Customs Internal Affairs Division on 3226898, email, the Customs Border Response and Intelligence Sections on 3226894 or the Commissioner's office on 3226793.

Caretaker Commissioner

18 January 2012