Recently, a couple has been making headlines for their involvement in a scam withholding S$32 million worth of luxury goods.
They managed to escape Singapore by hiding away in a lorry container compartment, passing through to Thailand. This sparked concerns about security levels at our borders.
S’porean Man & Wife Who Owe Customers Luxury Goods Escaped In Lorry, Authorities Seek Whereabouts
The Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) has addressed the situation and explained why increasing checks on all vehicles would not be feasible.
Doing so will only delay departure clearance at both checkpoints, areas with already heavy traffic.
According to The Straits Times (ST) on Sunday (24 Jul), ICA said they would not check all vehicles at the land checkpoints. However, this approach may change when an emergency arises.
Addressing queries about the couple who managed to escape to another country, presumably due to the lack of checks on their vehicle, ICA said inspecting all vehicles would severely worsen the traffic situation at the checkpoints, not to mention affect trade and travel.
The spokesman for ICA told ST,
Our land checkpoints are one of the busiest land crossings in the world, where about 200,000 travellers depart daily pre-Covid-19.
Any delay in clearing traffic during peak hours will cause a buildup of traffic on the main roads surrounding the checkpoints, such as the Bukit Timah Expressway for Woodlands Checkpoint and the Ayer Rajah Expressway for Tuas Checkpoint.
“It would also disrupt trade flows between Singapore and Malaysia,” they said.
Instead, ICA has chosen a more balanced approach to the situation.
According to TODAY, ICA’s current approach is to conduct regular and random operations on departing vehicles daily.
The operations will include inspecting car boots, the luggage and engine compartments of buses, and the cabin and container compartments of lorries.
Officials will also conduct more checks on departing vehicles in the event of a major security incident to prevent offenders from leaving the country.
For instance, a terrorist attack inland would cause ICA to step up inspection efforts to stop the individuals involved from leaving.
They may also conduct targeted and thorough checks on departing vehicles based on risk profiling and certain information.
“While the checks may not be 100%, they are not minimal or negligible in number,” ICA said.
They added that such an approach in balancing security needs with overseeing smooth clearance is practised worldwide. The ICA spokesperson stressed,
Safeguarding Singapore’s borders against the entry of smuggled, illegal or undesirable persons and goods, and especially security-sensitive items, is the key priority for ICA.
In the wake of the couple managing to escape Singapore, it is understandable for most of us to be concerned with the security of our country.
However, we can rest assured that our local authorities have the situation well in hand.
All we need to do now is make it easier for them by complying with current protocols and safety measures.
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Featured image adapted from Shin Min Daily News on Facebook & Google Maps.
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