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Criminal racket at Nadi Airport

Criminal racket at Nadi Airport

Wed, 14 Feb 2001 09:52:02 +1200

PEOPLE'S COALITION GOVERNMENT, FIJI Issue No: 475 14 February 2001

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Criminal racket at Nadi Airport

A criminal racket is operating at the Nadi International Airport.

Many air travellers have complained of items lost from baggage of passengers departing from Fiji. Reports claim that once the bags are checked in, they are systematically opened or ripped apart, valuable items stolen and the bags sealed with a black tape. Often these intrusions are not detected until the passengers reach home and open their bags.

Thousands of dollars of valuables have reportedly been stolen in this fashion. Choice items are valuable clothing items, jewellery, and gifts, with departing passengers more vulnerable. One traveller stated that the operation is so smartly done that one would not see anything unusually wrong with the bag. Even the black tape is such that one would not suspect that the tape conceals the opening through which items were pilfered.

Meanwhile, a Customs Department agent is under investigation for allowing goods be taken out of the Nadi Airport Cargo customs without paying duty by using fake customs department stamps.

Earlier there were reports of a duty free shop operator showing hundreds of thousands of dollars of duty free liquor sales despite a lack of passenger traffic at the airport at the height of the terrorism crisis in Fiji. Only two duty free shops operate at Nadi airport, one belonging to Mahendra Patel brothers, and another to the Tapoo brothers. Patel called for a full inquiry into the racket.

END

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