DOHA: The Qatar General Authority of Customs detected 851 offences and foiled attempts to smuggle in huge quantities of alcohol and narcotics into the country last year.
The Customs Department, with the support of Interpol and Qatar’s Civil Defence Department, also aborted a series of attempts to flood the local market with counterfeit products.
In one operation, the Customs Department, with the support of its Marine squad, seized 9,000 bottles of alcohol. In separate incidents, it also impounded huge quantities of narcotics.
In one case, offenders tried to smuggle in several cartons of liquor by using secret wooden cases through Doha Port. They had been under the radar of the Customs Department until the consignment reached their secret store in the Industrial Area.
Customs officials, along with security forces, raided the building and seized the contraband. The suspects were later handed over to Capital Security Police, Ahmed Yousif Al Sahl, Director of Marine Customs, said in a report released by the Authority.
The last three months of 2013 witnessed a massive hunt for lawbreakers who tried to smuggle in large amounts of narcotics.
The contraband included narcotic pills, hashish and marijuana.
Drug traffickers were carrying 22,376 pills of various contraband and used different methods to smuggle them into the country.
In one case, drug pushers tried to smuggle in narcotics by concealing them inside sweets and nut shells.
A large quantity of pills was hidden inside a tin of frozen food in the baggage of a passenger from an Arab country.
The passenger had been under the surveillance of customs officers until he arrived at a check-point.
In another major haul, the Air Customs Department seized 1.5kg of opium from an Asian passenger on his arrival at the airport.
They also aborted repeated attempts by different groups of smugglers to flood the Qatari market with counterfeit products.
Studies estimate that the presence of counterfeit products in the Arab market is costing Arab countries an estimate $88bn every year.
The GCC counties collectively suffered an estimated $18bn loss due to counterfeit products in their markets in 2013.
The international market is at the risk of losing an estimated $780bn per year, or about 5 percent to 10 percent of the total value of trading, the Directorate of Customs said in its report.