Eveline de Klerk
Three employees of China Harbour Construction Company (CHEC), which is currently busy with the expansion of the Port of Walvis Bay, were caught red-handed by customs officials while trying to smuggle in Chinese cigarettes through the local airport last Friday.
The three men are Li Suifen, 55, Wu Jinhai, 42, and Zeng Xianggui, 55.
The suspects tried to smuggle in 11 cigarette boxes, each containing 10 packets of the popular Chinese brand, Shuangxi cigarettes, also known as ‘double happiness’. It is one of the oldest brands in China. The value of the cigarettes is not yet known.
According the Namibian police crime coordinator for the Erongo Region, Deputy Commissioner Erastus Iikuyu, Suifen and Jinhai flew in from China on Friday, whilst the third suspect, Xianggui, picked them up from the airport to take them to their base in Walvis Bay.
“What basically happened was that the two suspects did not declare the cigarettes to customs officials. They then tried to smuggle the cigarettes out through the bathroom window, so that Xianggui could take it to the vehicle without being noticed,” he explained.
“However, their plan did not succeed as vigilant customs officials caught them in the act.” They were then charged with breach of security measures at an airport under the National Civil Aviation Security programme.
The trio appeared on Tuesday in the Walvis Bay Magistrate’s Court, where they admitted guilt and were fined N$3,000 each.