News Desk, Jakarta – Customs and excise officials have reported the discovery of high-end contraband, consisting of several Harley Davidson spare parts and a Brompton folding bicycle, on national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia's new Airbus A330-900 aircraft upon its arrival in the country from France last month.
The discovery raised more than a few eyebrows among the officials as the aircraft carried a number of Garuda Indonesia executives and employees, according to the flight manifest.
Garuda Indonesia spokesperson M. Ikhsan Rosan confirmed the existence of the illegal cargo, saying that the goods belonged to several airline employees on the flight and were currently being held by customs and excise officials.
"Several of our employees carried [illegal Harley Davidson] spare parts," Ikhsan said as quoted by kompas.com. "If they want us to pay for [import taxes], we will pay for them. If they prohibit the items, we will return them."
He said he was uncertain whether the employees in question would face any sanctions for smuggling the contraband. However, the airline would comply with the established customs and excise regulations, he said. "We will await further information from customs and excise officials," he said.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati responded to the discovery of the contraband, saying the government had been bolstering customs and excise by sharing more transparent data regarding goods coming in and out of the country with several countries including neighboring Singapore.
"We're always listening to demands for simplified [customs and excise procedures] from the business sector. However, such simplicity has been exploited by irresponsible parties to conduct [illegal activities]," she said.
"We constantly face such dilemmas – streamlining the system only to find individuals exploiting it for illegal purposes. We always have to keep our guard up." (rfa)