Attempt to smuggle copper & aluminum to India, thwarted
An attempt to export 34 metric tons of restricted metals such as copper and aluminum worth of Rs.15 million to India, which was thwarted by Sri Lanka Customs last week was displayed to the media today at the Customs Export Facilitation Centre at the Trico Yard in Grand pass.
Officials of the Customs Central Intelligence Directorate (Central Intelligence Unit) received information last week that a shipment of restricted metals was to be smuggled out of the country.
The sleuths found that two 20 foot containers carrying the contraband were being loaded on to a cargo carrier which was about to set off to the South Indian port of Chennai last Thursday. They however, were faced with a problem to unload and take the containers into custody immediately as 80 other containers had been loaded on top of them and the ship was about to set sail.
Since clearing all that would cost time and huge revenue loss, the Customs took the ship’s assurance to unload the goods in Chennai and to safely return the two suspicious containers on their return to Colombo Port.
Upon the ships return to Colombo on Tuesday the officials took the goods into custody and brought them to the Customs Export Facilitation Centre and opened the containers to find various types of scrap metal including copper, aluminum, iron, which falls into the strictly Export Restricted Items category.
Deputy Director Customs Export Facilitation Centre Uditha Jayasinghe said the country would have lost foreign currency especially USD equivalent to Rs.15 million, if the scrap metal went undetected, as they could simply be used for local industries instead of importing such metal.
Customs Superintendent CID Ruchira Karunathilake said the contraband consisted of 14,070Kgs of Aluminium ingots, 7,480Kgs of scrap Copper,
4,500Kgs of Aluminium scrap, 6,780Kgs of silicon plus steel scrap.
Customs Superintendent CID Prashantha Bopage said the contraband had been declared as Silicon Coated Electrical Sheets by its exporter, a resident of Kalagedihena who was arrested in the Malwana area.
Customs Superintendents C. P. Bopage and H.R.G. Karunathilake with Assistant Superintendents Kelum Thushara, Russel Dharmaratne, A. Parthipan and Sudesh Fernando are conducting investigations under the direction of Additional Director General of Customs S. Anandaeswaran, Customs Director V.M.J. Perera and Deputy Director M. Marambe. The Customs inquiry into the detection is pending.
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailymirror.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)