Smuggling through Benapole port rampant

OUR CORRESPONDENT | Wednesday, 12 January 2022

BENAPOLE: Smuggling through Benapole check post has been going on for a long time.

While using the country's largest land port as a route for their illegal activities, some smugglers have recently been captured by law enforcement agencies.

In response, the smugglers, also known as members of Luggage Party, are trying to create an atmosphere of fear by issuing death threats to top customs officials.

Deputy Commissioner of Benapole Customs House, Md Abdul Quaiyum, has recently lodged a general diary (GD) with Benapole Port Police Station after receiving death threats from the members of a smuggling syndicate.

He filed the GD on Sunday night, confirmed officer-in-charge of Benapole Port Police Station, Mamun Khan.

Shortly after joining Benapole, Joint Commissioner of Customs Abdul Rashid Mia seized a huge number of smuggled goods worth several million Taka coming from India.

The members of the so-called Luggage Party might have become angry over that seizure and issued the death threats to Md Abdul Quaiyum, according to people related to Benapole Customs House.

Riaz Mandal, an Indian passenger who arrived in Bangladesh on a business visa recently, was captured at the land port with smuggled goods worth Tk 3 million, according to customs officials.

Like him, a group of Indian smugglers enter Bangladesh every day with business visa and smuggled goods and try to sell them in border areas, evading customs tax, said Benapole Customs Deputy Commissioner Md Abdul Quaiyum to this correspondent.

However, some people have alleged that they face harassment by customs officials at this land port. Denying this, customs officials said those who are genuine passengers go straight through the green channel by scanning their bags in the check post.

Bangladeshi passenger Mahbubul Alam said, "Smuggling is increasing day by day here. The members of baggage party are bringing smuggled goods worth millions of taka into the country every day."

"As soon as their goods are seized, they are attacking the customs officials in an organised way. Because of them, ordinary passengers like us have to suffer," he added.

Benapole Port Police OC Mamun Khan said, "Deputy Commissioner of Customs Md Abdul Quaiyum has lodged a GD with Benapole Port Police Station seeking security. Police are investigating the matter. And after the investigation, legal action will be taken against those involved."

Benapole Customs Commissioner, Azizur Rahman, said, "Real passengers are not harassed in any way. Those who carry smuggled goods, they face seizure of their goods by customs officials."

"Due to strict surveillance, smugglers are now unable to bring goods into Bangladesh," he added.

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