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Samoa customs counters firearms smuggling

The Ministry of Revenue has moved to assuage fears about the threat of gun smuggling in Samoa. The Customs Division of the Ministry has assured that it is doing everything in its power to stop illegal guns from entering the country.The assurance was made in a statement issued by the CEO of Revenue, Pitolau Lusia Sefo-Leau, in response to a request from the Samoa Observer for an interview.Her views were sought following concerns expressed by the Police about the possibility of gun smuggling. Acting Police Commissioner, Le’aupepe Fatu Pula told the SamoaObserver they suspect that many guns are being smuggled into Samoa.“It is possible that boats are not docking where border security officers are and that’s where some of these weapons might be brought in,” he said.In response, Pitolau said: “Protecting the Samoan community through the interception of illegal drugs, firearms and other prohibited and restricted goods is of high importance.“In particular, the interception of illegal firearms is a priority area for the Ministry and this is enabled through sound border management processes that aim to ensure only permissible firearms are released from Customs control.”Further down her statement, the CEO assures that: “The Ministry for Revenue aims to ensure the people of this country are assured that all measures within our resource base are being taken to counter the threat of smuggling, be they arms smuggling or otherwise.“The Ministry also welcomes the reporting of any information from the community that may assist in the detection of illegal goods in future.”Customs also assures that it is undertaking a number of measures to counter “various challenges” in relation to border control. These include: Working proactively to identify and manage risks Maximise the number of cross border movements where intervention is not required Focus on intelligence gathering and analysis through work collaboratively with the Immigration, Quarantine, Transnational Crime Unit (Police) and other intelligence agencies; Finalise procurement of a mobile x-ray machine to assist in detection of contrabands at all ports of entry; Finalise install security cameras at airports and wharves as a quality control measure to ensure high risk baggage and travellers are examined as appropriate.