Over 1,600 cops axed for illicit cigarette smuggling

Riah Phiyega says cigarette smuggling is a big problem and the involvement of officers is 'disturbing'.

FILE: Riah Phiyega addressed the media this afternoon to give feedback on mall robberies that plagued the country last year. Picture: freeimages.com.

CAPE TOWN - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega says more than 1,600 officers have been dismissed for participating in illicit cigarette smuggling.

Phiyega addressed the media this afternoon to give feedback on mall robberies that plagued the country last year.

She, along with Western Cape acting police commissioner Thembisile Patekile, say there has been some improvement in efforts to fight business robberies.

The national police commissioner says illicit cigarette smuggling continues to be a problem and even more disturbing is the involvement of police members in the illegal trade.

She says just yesterday eight members of the police force were arrested by the Hawks in Mpumalanga for dealing in illicit cigarette smuggling.

"The members that were arrested hold the ranks of constable and sergeant; the level of police officers who are supposed to be in the fore front of fighting crime."

Phiyega says in the last three years more than 1,600 police officers have been dismissed for their involvement in the crime countrywide.