Customs officers seize 1,037 items in six months

Items confiscated by the Dubai Customs’ Passenger Operations Department included illegal drugs, prohibited and restricted substances and fake documents, as well as arms and accessories.

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DUBAI // Customs officers seized 1,037 illegal items from passengers in the first six months of this year, up from 843 seizures made in the same period last year.

Items confiscated by the Dubai Customs’ passenger operations department included illegal drugs, prohibited and restricted substances and fake documents, as well as arms and accessories.

“We had a total of 1,037 seizures during the first half of this year,” said Ahmed bin Lahej, director of the department at Dubai Customs.

“Fake documents and passports represented 357 confiscations; arms and accessories 159 seizures; narcotics 205; paan 140; restricted medicine 19; counterfeit goods 18; wildlife 10; besides the smuggling of fake credit cards, undeclared goods and tools used in sorcery and black magic.”

Mr bin Lahej said the techniques and methods used to smuggle illegal items had varied compared with last year.

He said inspectors found 951 items in travel bags, 13 concealed over passengers bodies, 23 in handbags, 17 were swallowed, three were in passengers’ clothes, nine in trouser pockets and five in wallets.

To aid inspectors, Dubai Airports is deploying 50 X-ray scanners designed to check luggage, and three built to scan inside people’s bodies.

Dubai Airports’ 660 inspectors keep up to date with the latest skills needed to tackle smugglers through specialised courses on the art of inspection, drugs and smuggling techniques, sourcing and forging and decoding body language amongst others, said Mr bin Lahej.

Ahmed Musabih, director of Dubai Customs, said the latest figures were “in line with the measures taken by Dubai Customs to protect the community and boost Dubai and the UAE’s security and stability, being the society’s first line of defence”.

Mr Musabih said the emirate’s Customs was faced with the challenge to strike the right balance between facilitating and expediting the flow of individuals and consignments, while safeguarding the local economy and community against any threats to their safety.

He praised Customs staff for their constant upgrading of skills, saying their patriotism and attention to detail was what made such operations a success, staying on top of the ever-evolving tricks used by smugglers.

newsdesk@thenational.ae