Friday, May 31, 2013

Alcohol smuggling rife in Hela, SHP

Friday 31st May 2013

POLICE in the new Hela Province are fuming and wondering at how huge quantities of liquor can evade check-points and be smuggled into the neighbouring Southern Highlands province despite a liquor ban and heavy check-points in place.
Acting Hela provincial police commander Insp. Peter Buka raised this concern in Tari yesterday after his men confiscated more than 500 cartons of liquor that included OP Dark Rum 500 ml bottles, white can Export Lager, SP Brown beer bottles among others over the past two weeks during a special police operation along the notorious Ambua section of the Highlands Highway between Margarima and Tari.
Mr Buka said since the operations began early this month, every day and especially at early hours of the morning, his men from Margarima, Tari, and Koroba police stations, assisted by Tari based police mobile squad 09 unit, have seized cartons of beer illegally smuggled into the Hela province from the neighbouring Southern Highlands and Enga provinces.
Mr Buka said there are two liquor check-points at Kaupena on the border of Southern Highlands
and Western Highlands provinces, but still these huge quantities of liquor could evade these check-points and get into Mendi and then into Tari.
He said most of the smugglers interrogated have told them that they are bringing the beer from a large hidden bulk store and wholesale supplier of beer in Mendi.
Mr Buka said some of the liquor are is smuggled in from the back road at Tambul and Upper Mendi into Mendi town for re-distribution into Tari and Hela where the price is K15 per bottle or can of beer and K100 for a OP Dark Rum bottle.
“Because of the high demand and high selling price at the LNG projects sites in Tari, Nogoli, Komo and Hides, smugglers are working day and night, coming up with all sorts of tricks and means and ways to smuggle beer in. But when they are caught, they will be sorry.
“Let me warn others in this illegal liquor smuggling trade to stop from now onwards as my men have all the intelligence and the network required to gradually pin them all down,” Police Inspector Buka said.
He said most of the smugglers are using the liquor ban imposed in the two provinces to make huge profits by smuggling in alcohol without any regard and respect for the ban imposed by the two provincial governments.
Insp. Buka also questioned whether the role of the liquor ban monitoring agencies of the two provinces are effective

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