Customs and excise officers have seized hundreds of PDAs and BlackBerries worth Rp 3.6 billion (US$3.3 million) from two different passengers arriving at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport from Hong Kong and Singapore.
Airport customs and excise officer chief Eko Darmanto said Tuesday two Indonesians, only identified with their initials EP and SK, had tried to smuggle the cell phones.
"The latest models of mobile phones did not come with the proper documentation required by importation laws," Eko said.
The 8320 and 8900 BlackBerry models were among the confiscated ones.
According to Eko, both EP - carrying 306 BlackBerries from Hong Kong - and SK, with 200 BlackBerries, arrived from Singapore at the airport on flight SQ 968, April 17. EP and SK were released as they only violated importation procedures.
"We did not arrest them since they only violated importation procedures," he said.
He said the practice of smuggling cell phones in hand luggage had been rampant lately.
"We found almost everyday passengers arriving at the airport with between 10 and 20 cell phones in their hand luggage," he said.
He attributed the widespread smuggling to the high demand for expensive mobiles back home, while traders were finding it difficult to meet the demand due to problems with importation regulations.
Eko said if smugglers tried to import cell phones legally, not only would it be a long process but they would have to sell phones at a higher price to cover their costs.
"In a recent case, we found a new modus operandi that could involve officers with access to the restricted area helping smugglers avoid check points," said Eko, as quoted by tempointeraktif.com.