DHAKA: Customs Intelligence Department has seized gold, foreign currency, electrical equipment and drugs worth Tk 5.05 billion and around 27,489 cartons of foreign cigarettes from various entry points into the country during the last 25 months.
This is an almost ten-fold rise over the seizures over nine years, during which they seized contraband worth a mere Tk 540 million and 3,297 cartons of cigarettes.
Its Director General Moinul Khan presented these seizure statistics while inaugurating their new headquarters on Monday.
He attributed this to the growing professional efficiency of the department — more active detectives, better use of modern technologies for surveillance , overall capacity development to cover new areas..
Khan said that they have also stepped up raids on various markets to seize contraband make-up, apparels and mobile phone sets.
The department had filed 1,922 cases in the last 25 months, the customs department chief said, apparently very pleased with the work of his subordinates.
However, many say the seizure statistics may not reflect more efficient Customs Intelligence, but a huge spurt in contraband smuggling.
There have been a number of media reports that Bangladesh has become an international route for smugglers. Recently, cocaine in both powdered and liquidated form were seized along with large quantities of gold, apparently making their way to the Indian market through Bangladesh.
Customs statistics indicate that in the last 25 months until July, the sleuths have seized 930 kilogrammes of gold worth Tk 4.37 billion and detained 108 persons involved in peddling them.
They also have seized foreign currency worth Tk 400 million in that period, nearly twice the amount of Tk 220 million in seizures in between 2004-05 FY and 2012-13 FY.
Electrical equipment, including mobile phones, batteries, old computers and hard disks, worth Tk 170.5 million were seized in the last 25 months against Tk 201.6 million in such seizures in the nine years before that.
Drugs worth Tk 107.1 million were seized in the 25 months, worth nearly Tk 40 million more than the haul seized in between 2004-13.