Hundreds of weapons intercepted at Port of Napier

By Corey Charlton of Hawkes Bay Today -
File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

More than 1000 weapons have been intercepted at the Port of Napier in the past decade.

Figures released under the Official Information Act show there have been 52 incidences of weapon interceptions from 2003 to September 2012 at the port, totalling 1180 items.

The exact types of weapons found are unknown but could include offensive weapons, such as flick knives, knuckledusters and concealed weapons, as well as firearms, parts of firearms and disabling sprays.

The largest number intercepted was last year, when five incidents yielded 721 items.

Customs said the most common reasons for intercepting and detaining items were a failure to declare, an incorrect declaration or false/incorrect documents, prohibited or restricted items and an attempt to evade duty.

There have also been 48 endangered species intercepted at the port, the latest of which was in 2010.

Most were of small numbers, except in 2008 when two separate interceptions unearthed 38.

The most commonly intercepted product was tobacco, with 36,150 items over the 10-year period.

When Customs finds goods they are referred to as an interception. Once intercepted, goods are detained by Customs. Goods that are detained can be either released back to the importer, usually when conditions/requirements have been met, or formally seized.

The discovery of 5.01kg of cocaine earlier this year was one of the most recent interceptions. It was found concealed inside a refrigeration unit attached to a container aboard a ship in March, and estimated to have a street value of $2.5 million. The ship's eventual destination was Japan and China, but it was suspected the drugs were bound for Australia.

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