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‘Syndicates have taken advantage of lockdown’ – says Cele on alcohol,tobacco ban

Police Minister Bheki Cele said the police are tracking down syndicates who have expanded their trade into the illegal market of illicit and counterfeit alcohol and cigarette sales.

Police Minister Bheki Cele during media briefing on Crime statistics during COVID-19 lockdown in Pretoria on 22 May 2020. Picture: Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Police Minister Bheki Cele said his department is working to crack down on organised crime syndicates who have taken advantage of the lockdown.

Speaking at a media briefing Pretoria on Friday, Cele said they have seen an increase in the illegal trade of counterfeit alcohol and cigarettes.

He said so far more than R2,6 million in illegal items have been confiscated at the country's borders.

The minister said police are tracking down syndicates who have expanded their trade into the illegal market of illicit and counterfeit alcohol and cigarette sales.

“We know that criminals are opportunistic, so organised crime syndicates have taken advantage of the lockdown especially on ban of alcohol and cigarettes.”

Cele said police have intercepted some of the illegal operations along South African borders.
“Our lockdown partners SANDF have disrupted some of these illegal operations, mainly along the borders of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and eSwatini.”

Meanwhile, the minister said there was a decrease in serious and violent crimes such as domestic violence, robberies and hijackings.

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