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APIA, Samoa (October 31, 2000 - Samoa Observer/PINA Nius Online)---The Samoan government has set up a "task force" to deal with false declarations in shipping documents, smuggling and illegal shipments. It is made up of the Minister of Transport as Chairman, Mr. Joe Keil, Comptroller of Customs Fuimaono Pou Te‘o, Commissioner of Police Asi James Blakelock, Secretary for Transport Vaaelua Nofo, other government officials and representatives of airlines and shipping companies.

This was confirmed by the management of the Samoa Shipping Corporation.

It said the task force was formed following the discovery of an attempt to smuggle cigarettes to American Samoa on October 18. It said when accepting cargo for the vessel Lady Naomi’s trip to American Samoa that day, shipping officers became suspicious of two consignments. "One shipment contained three repacks declared as books," the corporation said. "The other was declared as handicrafts. Both consignments were opened in the presence of police and customs officers and were confirmed to contain cartons of cigarettes."

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