Dubai customs officials see rise in illegal goods seizures

Customs inspectors in Dubai carried out 39 per cent more seizures so far this year compared with the same period last year.

DUBAI // Customs officials have reported a 39 per cent rise in the number of seizures of banned items in the first quarter of this year, from the same period last year.

Officers made 541 seizures of drugs, fake documents and other restricted goods – up from 389 in the first three months of last year.

Drugs were the most frequent item found, with officers thwarting 109 smuggling attempts, followed by 76 seizures of weapons and weaponry equipment.

They confiscated restricted medicines, counterfeit goods, forged documents, fake credit cards, banned goods and implements used in magic and sorcery.

Attempts to fool Customs inspectors included smuggling the items in suitcases, the method used in 491 incidents, or handbags, 19 times.

Six other would-be smugglers swallowed pills in packets to hide them in their intestines, said Khaled Yusuf, acting director of the airport operations department.

They gave themselves away with body language and signs of confusion and anxiety, Mr Yusuf said.

Inspectors who suspect someone of trafficking this way conduct a manual examination, then use a screening machine.

“Despite the underhanded ways used by traffickers, such as intestinal drug trafficking and hiding drugs in clothes, underwear, secret pockets at the bottom of large bags, handbags, packed boxes, cigarette boxes, mobiles, shoes and other items, all of these attempts were a complete failure due to the vigilance of the Customs inspectors,” said Mr Yusuf.

Most smugglers in the first quarter were aged 26 to 35. Men accoun-ted for 510 cases and women 31.

Dubai Customs gives its inspectors training in drugs, trafficking, detection techniques for forgery, body language, and handling dangerous substances and explosives.

Published: May 12, 2014 04:00 AM