5 Jul 2010

Tonga customs steps up fight against illegal weapons

6:29 pm on 5 July 2010

The Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Customs and Trade in Tonga says it is stepping up operations to curb the illegal importation of weapons.

The move follows a recent charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, laid against a man alleged to have shot a security guard outside a nightclub.

Kelemeti Vahe from the Customs and Trade division says it is carrying out more physical inspections on shipping containers suspected of holding guns and ammunition.

He says he hopes there will also be a greater police presence in the Customs department.

"A separate unit to be incorporated into the police force where it will be manned by customs and police. Something that's similar to Transnational Crime Unit the police have now. Because we should have customs people allocated to take work on that area all around the clock."

Kelemeti Vahe says Customs is also hoping for a bigger x-ray machine to scan large shipping containers.