Get tough with smugglers

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 October, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 October, 1999, 12:00am

The Government recently decided to advertise, on English-language TV, the penalties for selling illegal diesel - a $25,000 fine and up to 24 months in jail.

Before it continues to waste taxpayers' dollars in this way, the officials responsible should read the May 8 edition of The Economist about 'Cross Channel bootlegging', that is, smuggling activities across the English Channel.

The article says that the big profits available have attracted organised crime syndicates which regard smuggling alcohol and tobacco into Britain as safer than drug peddling. Despite giving huge sums to customs and excise, the UK authorities admit detecting only a tiny percentage of this illicit trade.

If the SAR Government is going to succeed in curbing diesel and cigarette smuggling then it needs to consider much tougher measures than TV advertising.

J. R. PAINE Chai Wan