Four persons arrested for possession of alcohol

Police have last night arrested four male persons for being in possession of 86 cans of beer.

According to the police, the cans were discovered while searching a boat docked at the jetty near the Malé waste yard on Sunday night (June 8).

While the police are further investigating the matter, they revealed that the arrested men include three Maldivians and one Bangladeshi.

The penalty for alcohol possession in the penal code – to be updated next year – is either a fine of between MVR1,000 to MVR3,000 or imprisonment, banishment, or house arrest for up to three years.


Home Minister vows to track every can of beer

Home Minister Umar Naseer has vowed to limit the sale and use of alcohol to Maldivians by placing a GPS tracker on alcohol containers, or a mark on every can of beer.

While Maldivian law allows foreigners to buy and consume alcohol at licensed locations, citizens are subject to 40 lashes in public and a jail term for alcohol consumption.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Customs Building on the occasion of World Customs Day, Naseer said alcohol released from bonded warehouses have been found in the capital Malé and in the islands.

He suggested safari boats were involved in the sale of illegal alcohol, and vowed to monitor the entry and exit of alcohol from bonded warehouses.

“One method is to place a GPS tracker on alcohol cases and check where they end up. I think this is something we can do with modern technology. God willing, we will do this, or place a mark every bottle of alcohol or every can of beer. We will place this mark before we release them from the bonded warehouses,” he said.

If alcohol containers are found on inhabited islands, the authorities will use the GPS tracker or the mark to track down the party to which the particular containers were released to and hold them accountable, he said.

Naseer also said that Maldives ports are not secure and that the government must invest in fences, x-ray machines, body scanners and improved customs facilities in order to seal the ports.

Expressing concern over the sale and consumption of illegal narcotics, Naseer said these substances must be stopped at the port of entry.

“Every 100 grams of narcotics that enters the Maldives destroys one child in our society. That child then has to go to jail or rehabilitation [centers]. To sell every 100 grams, 10 people have to package it and sell it on the streets. Every 100 grams, on average leads to three robberies. Every 100 grams creates five criminals. Maldivians participate in prostitution in order to buy it. Beg to buy it,” he said.

The Maldives Customs Services faces challenges in carrying out its duties due to the Maldives’ large sea area, the increase in new ports, and limited resources, he added, promising to increase coordination and cooperation between the customs, police, MNDF and immigration in order to monitor the entry of contraband.

In an interview with Minivan News earlier this month, Naseer said his first priority as Home Minister is “the fight against drugs” by controlling the gates through which drugs enter the country.

Last week, Naseer also ordered the Maldives Correctional Services to make preparations to implement the death penalty through lethal injections despite the lack of legislation administering the death penalty.

Amnesty International has called the move a “retrograde step and a serious setback to human rights in the country.”


2000 cases of “hazardous” beer destroyed

The Maldives Customs Services has destroyed 2,000 cases of ‘hazardous’ Heineken Lager beer on Thursday.

The Public Health Protection Agency ruled the shipment had passed its expiry date and were badly damaged. Officials from the Customs Services and the Ministry of Defense and National Security destroyed the beer at the waste disposal area at Kaafu Atoll Thilafushi Island.

On Sunday, Customs also destroyed 95 cartons of damaged packaged fruit juice.


Police find more beer cans near Villimale’

Residents of Villimale have alerted police after 52 cans of beer were found washed up on the island, following an operation to recover some 19,200 cans that fell into the sea from a dhoni travelling to Hulhule’ from Male’’s commercial port.

The police were called early on Friday morning by a group of people on Villimale’ after they found the cans near the boat yard on the island.

The Maldives Customs Department recently issued a statement claiming the beer cans found floating near Male’ were being transferred to a bonded warehouse in Hulhule’ from Male’, but said the dhoni carrying the beer cans lost balance and 800 cases fell into the sea.

Customs said the beer cans were a shipment imported to the Maldives for resort business and had cleared the customs examination procedure.

According to the statement, the customs officer who loaded the beer cases onto the dhoni counted the amount of cans that were loaded onto the boat, figured out the amount missing and informed the police immediately.

On Thursday Marine Police and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officers conducted an operation to collect thousands of the cans found floating in the sea on the west side of Male’.

Possession and consumption of alcohol is illegal outside resort islands and licensed safari boats in the Maldives.


Police discover over 14,000 cans of beer in water near Male’

Marine Police and Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officers were today collecting thousands of cans of beer found floating in the sea on the west side of Male’.

According to the statement issued by police, so far 14,548 cans of beer have been taken from the sea, with more continuing to be found.

Police initially received a report yesterday afternoon at 1:00pm that a dhoni named ‘Azum’ had tipped off balance near Male’, and some beer cases on the vessel had fallen into the sea.

However, a police media official later told media that the earlier statement was a mistake, and said police have been unable to determine the owner of the beer cans or how they were lost.

A police media official stated that police were still trying to determine whether the beer was dumped intentionally.

Marine police are patrolling around Male’ to pick up the floating beer cans.

‘’No one has claimed responsibility for this nor have they admitted the cans belong to them,’’ a police media officer  told Minivan News.

Possession and consumption of alcohol is illegal outside resort islands and licensed safari boats in the Maldives.


Police recover 330 beer cans drifting near presidential retreat of Aarah

Police have recovered 330 cans of beer found drifting near the presidential retreat of Aarah.

According to police, the beer cans were first seen by the crew of a passing boat and were reported it to police this morning at about 9:30am.

A team consisting of the police Drug Enforcement Department (DED) and marine police went to the area following the report and searched for the cans.

Last month, police discovered 52 cans of ‘Bintang’ beer drifting in the sea near Male’s West Park restaurant.

In March, police claimed to have discovered some beer cans and locally brewed alcohol at Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) protest camp near the surf break.


Audio of officer admitting to planting beer at MDP protest “edited”, claims MNDF

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has issued a statement challenging claims made by private broadcaster Raajje TV, which aired a voice recording of a MNDF officer stating that beer cans discovered during the police dismantling of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s protest camp had been planted by security services.

‘’We do not believe the audio is a voice recording of a MNDF officer that was in  the area that day,’’ the MNDF said in the statement. ‘’We believe that the voice has been edited.’’

MNDF said it condemned attempts to slander the MNDF.

In the voice recording released by Raajje TV, the MNDF officer admits taking beer cans to the area and keeping the beer cans inside a box in the area. He also says that the beer cans were cold when then they were taken to the area.

CEO of Raajje TV Abdulla Rafeeq told Minivan News that the voice recording was “100 percent valid” and “the voice of a member of the armed forces”.

‘’In our news we did not mention whether it was a MNDF officer or Police officer, we only said it was a member of the armed forces,’’ Rafeeq said. ‘’We did not edit the voice recording but we changed the voice to keep the source anonymous.’’

‘’There are other officers of the armed forces that have witnessed the incident,’’ he said. ‘’This officer that gave us the interview said he just could not ignore the matter knowing all this.’’

On March 19, Police and MNDF officers entered the MDP’s protest camp and demolished all evidence of it, taking down the podium, tents, yellow flags, and even repainting the seawall to remove anti-government slogans.

Media was initially ordered to leave the area, but was subsequently readmitted. Police then claimed to have discovered beer cans, homemade alcohol and condoms.

The MDP has since accused the police and MNDF officers of planting the items to discredit the MDP.