Smuggling scourge continues

18 May 2020 | Crime

KENYA KAMBOWE

RUNDU



The lifting of the national lockdown and the relaxation of certain regulations under the coronavirus state of emergency have led to the rapid increase of goods smuggling.

This is according to Kavango East Police deputy commissioner Vilho Kalwenya, who said despite police intensifying their efforts to combat crime, illegal goods continue to stream into the country.

“During lockdown, people were so restricted to move and nobody could go to the river in fear of contravening the lockdown regulations, but with the lifting of the lockdown, everyone is going wherever they want because there is no limitation,” he said.

Favoured contraband includes alcohol, cigarettes and drugs from neighbouring countries. With the sale of alcohol prohibited during the state of emergency, demand has skyrocketed. This situation has seen opportunists securing products at whatever cost, despite the lingering threat of the police's N$2 000 fine if found in contravention of the new regulations.



Border hotspots

Border regions such as Ohangwena, Omusati, Kavango West and Kavango East have experienced an influx of smuggled goods, while Namibian Sun has learnt that goods are also smuggled via the Kavango River, with smugglers using canoes at night to transport contraband. However, the police have been on high alert, confiscating smuggled goods, some of which were displayed to the media at a briefing at the Rundu police station last week.

The illicit products included Angolan whiskeys, crates of local and foreign beer, drugs as well as traditional brewed alcohol.

Kalwenya warned culprits to stop the practice of selling illicit products as they are exposing themselves to the coronavirus, which will result in the further spread of the virus.

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