Bust nets B8.5m in smuggled goods
AO MAKHAM: A squad of 25 Marine Police officers seized boat spares, radios and electronic equipment worth 8.5 million baht in a raid on a Taiwanese fishing vessel on Saturday. Pol Col Peera Boonliang, Superintendent of the Phuket Marine Police, told the Gazette yesterday, “We received a tip-off that the goods would arrive on a Taiwanese fishing boat and be smuggled into the country, through the Phuket Deep Sea Port, between February 9 and February 11.” Five officers were sent to the port to watch for the smugglers’ arrival. These officers eventually spotted a container being unloaded from the 350-ton Taiwanese tuna boat “Shin Hong” and onto a ten-wheel truck. “The officers called for backup and waited for 20 of their colleagues to arrive and surround the area before moving in to arrest the suspects,” Col Peera said. The 77 items seized were being smuggled in to avoid paying 30% import duty totaling 2.55 million baht. Police arrested 52-year-old Thai truck driver Sommai Maneerat, the ship’s skipper, Capt Lee Long Fong, 46, and four seamen, all Taiwanese. The five crew were charged with failing to pay import duty, while Sommai was charged with receiving illegally-imported goods. All six are being held at Phuket Town Police Station.
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