Tight checks to battle online drug buys
While many of us depend on the postal system to get our overseas purchases, it can also be used for crime.
Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) statistics show that the number of people arrested for buying drugs and drug-related paraphernalia online had increased significantly from 30 in 2015 to 201 last year.
Last month, a 28-year-old was jailed for five years and eight months and given 10 strokes of the cane for shipping imported drugs to his house via a posted package.
The package, which contained cannabis, came from the United States and was marked "Stussy logo tank top".
Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers detected the drugs at the mail processing centre at the Singapore Post Centre (SingPost) on Eunos Road.
ICA scans every inbound postal article from 8am to 4.30pm every day, before it is delivered. Last year, it cleared more than five million postal articles.
The New Paper visited the centre yesterday to find out how packages from overseas are checked and sorted.
All inbound packages arrive at the mail processing centre in mail bags. They are opened by SingPost staff, who put them in roller bags and hand them over to ICA for scanning.
ICA officers put the packages through X-ray scanners to detect anything dangerous or undesirable.
Suspicious packages will be opened and checked in the presence of ICA and SingPost representatives because SingPost has to ensure proper custody of the items before they are delivered to their recipients.
After the checks, SingPost officers will reseal the packages.
Cleared packages will be handed back to SingPost for sorting.
The packages are put through a scanner called the Optical Character Reader that can read the addresses on them.
The packages are then categorised according to postal code, after which they are sent to one of six delivery regional bases, from which SingPost staff will deliver the packages.