Seize illegal commodities through the exchange of information

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The Illegal Trade Eradication Steering Committee plays a pivotal role in coordinating efforts to combat illegal trade fostering collaboration between countries and departments. This committee oversees the implementation of guidelines for special task forces across various regions and states, ensuring timely and effective measures against illegal trade activities for the nation’s and its citizens’ benefit.
Special task forces dedicated to eradicating illegal trade in different regions and states focus on verifying the conformity of commodities with import declarations. On a daily basis, they confiscate illicit items and take legal action against offenders. It is imperative that officials and service personnel within these task forces maintain loyalty to the State and refrain from engaging in corruption.
From January to December 2022, the combined efforts of these task forces resulted in the seizure of illegal and smuggled goods valued at K65.056 billion in 4,232 cases. In the corresponding period of 2023, this figure rose significantly, with the confiscation of goods worth approximately K127.447 billion in 5,753 cases. Over the 23-month period of the steering committee’s existence, a total of approximately K182.503 billion worth of illegal trade goods were seized in 9,985 cases.
In its meeting held in June 2023, the steering committee noted the increased efforts of special task forces in regions and states. For instance, the Taninthayi Region task force, acting on a tip-off, seized 123.904 tonnes of illegally excavated lead metal valued at approximately K3.717 billion in September 2023. Simultaneously, the Customs Department intercepted 16 kilogrammes of gold and 259 iPhones from passengers arriving from Singapore on 4 November, amounting to a total seizure value of over K3.946 billion, including US$120,000 worth of gold.
International cooperation played a crucial role in these successes, as exemplified by the Customs Department of India informing Myanmar’s Customs Department about narcotic drugs. This timely exchange of information led to the seizure of narcotic drugs at the Yangon International Airport on two occasions.
Recognizing the importance of information in tracking illegal commodity routes, it is recommended to reward informants promptly for their efforts and risks in providing valuable information. Additionally, it is crucial for these task forces to establish and maintain an efficient information network, enabling them to prevent and take swift action against those involved in illegal trade activities as part of preventing loss of deserved revenue for the State, protecting the interests of traders and consumer people engaged in legal process and consumption.

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