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Two women fined $110k after assaulting customs official

Friday, April 20, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Two female travellers have been fined a sum of $110,000 following their disorderly behaviour at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston recently, the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) has revealed.

According to the agency, the incident, which involved the assault of a customs official, followed an assessment of customs duty, which was calculated after one of the females exceeded her US$500 duty-free allowance — an entitlement given to all passengers 18 years and older.

In this regard, her other items would be subject to customs duty, JCA explained.

The women, who the agency did not name, were subsequently charged with obstructing a customs officer, assaulting a constable, disorderly behaviour, and using indecent language.

The two later pleaded guilty to three of the charges when they appeared before the Kingston & St Andrew Parish Court and were each fined, $100,000 or three months imprisonment for obstructing a constable, and $10,000 or 30 days imprisonment for disorderly behaviour.

The incident has prompted a warning from the agency, which is reminding passengers, importers and anyone who does business with the agency to desist from abusing customs officials.

It said passengers who behave in a disorderly manner, verbally abusing or physically harming, or obstructing a customs official in carrying out official duties may be liable for prosecution.

The JCA also took the opportunity to encourage individuals to use peaceful means to resolve differences and remind customers that, should a disagreement arise as to the assessment of any Customs duty or charges, a request may be made for a re-assessment by a supervisor.

If they are dissatisfied with the re-assessment of the supervisor, the JCA encourages the use of the appeals process through their Valuation and Verification Unit located at its head office — Myers' Wharf, Newport East, Kingston.

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