Officers who face danger every day

  • Letters
  • Monday, 23 Jun 2003

By V.K.Chin

THE public often believes that the most dangerous jobs are in the police force or the military.  

They are the officers and men who have to deal with armed and dangerous criminals or invaders. 

However, there are other public employees who also put their safety on the line in carrying out their assignments on a daily basis.  

They are the enforcement officers who have to face those who are prepared to use violence to protect the illegal businesses of their employers. 

Many of the officers have to face such dangers without the benefit of being provided with small arms for their protection because the Government does not encourage this practice. 

Quite often, they have to face the armed thugs who will not hesitate to attack officers on a raid with little regard for the law.  

Such criminal elements are prepared to take the risk of being caught and ready to face the consequences for their actions. 

However, the enforcement officers will have to carry on their assignments without being issued with any firearms, though they may be given martial arts lessons to protect themselves from such attacks. 

Otherwise, they will have to depend on the police to follow them on such raids though the force does not have enough men to look after those involved in such dangerous assignments. 

But one department is the exception and it has been provided with some heavy firepower in the course of its work.  

This is the Customs Department whose patrol boats will be equipped with machine guns and M-16 assault rifles. 

This extra armoury is necessary because its enforcement officers have to deal with equally well-equipped smugglers who are prepared to shoot to kill to protect their contraband.  

Smuggling is such a profitable business that many syndicates are prepared to spend millions to buy powerful speedboats and firearms to outrun and outshoot the Customs officers. 

In fact, the equipment used by the smugglers are always one up on that used by the Customs whose boats just cannot catch up with those used by the criminals who have faster ones. 

The smugglers were already using powerful weapons such as machine guns and assault rifles while the Customs officers were only equipped with side arms. 

While the anti-smuggling unit seems happy with the upgrading of firearms, it is still a worry that these officers will have to meet such dangers every time they go out on patrol. 

Though they may be better armed, they can easily be injured or killed when coming into contact with desperate smugglers who are prepared to shoot their way out of trouble.

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