The number of customs violations in Finland has risen significantly this year. According to the Finnish customs department, there were about 3.4 thousand different violations over the first half of 2003, a year-on-year increase of 5.6%.
Among the violations are the illegal import of alcohol and tobacco, drugs and arms smuggling. The smuggling of alcohol is the most common violation. 26,863 thousand litres of alcohol were seized by customs officers over the six-month period including 11,611 thousand litres of spirits. The largest volume of smuggled alcohol was discovered in the Western customs district. The criminal group consisted of Finns and Russians specialising in the smuggling of alcohol and tobacco hidden inside logs.
Customs officers also seized 789.53 kilogrammes of different drugs over the six-month period, 80 kilogrammes more than the same period of 2002.
Representatives of the Israeli Defence Ministry responded to recent reports about the possible delivery of S-300 SAM systems from Russia to Syria. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel would destroy those systems
Russia is to start supplying S-300 air defence systems to Syria in the near future. The shipments will be conducted free of charge