About 250 new Apple iPhones smuggled from Singapore were seized by customs officials at Siem Reap International Airport on Wednesday night, officials said.
The contraband phones were discovered in two suitcases that had been checked by a passenger on a JetStar Asia flight from Singapore arriving in Siem Reap at 8:20 p.m., said Raksa Serey, the mobile customs chief for the province.
“Those iPhone smugglers smuggled 251 very expensive iPhone 5S 16 GB models, which were seized by our mobile customs officers last night about 400 meters from the airport,” Mr. Serey said Thursday.
However, despite having caught the suspects red-handed, Mr. Serey said he had not arrested them, nor would he provide their names. He said his officers “had no right” to arrest the smugglers.
“The prosecutor of the [Siem Reap Provincial] Court also asked me, ‘Why didn’t you arrest the smugglers?’” Mr. Serey said. “In fact, our customs officers don’t have the right to arrest those smugglers, but we can seize their goods since they didn’t pay tax.”
Ang Sokhenor, customs chief of the airport, said that if the phones had been properly brought into Cambodia, $30 worth of tax would have been owed on each one, for a total of $7,530. He, too, declined to name the smuggling suspects but said they would be asked to pay the taxes on the phones as well as an additional fine.
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