Australia: Customs officials allegedly involved in drug and tobacco smuggling.

A network of Australian border security officials is allegedly working for organised criminals, including drug and tobacco smugglers, in the most serious corruption scandal to ever hit the nation's border agencies.

A Fairfax Media investigation has uncovered multiple cases of alleged corruption involving staff from the Australian Border Force and the Department of Agriculture, along with maritime industry employees with government clearances.

In response to the revelations, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Border Force said they were "working actively with law enforcement partners to investigate allegations of serious criminality by its officers at the border".

Police on Wednesday arrested a Department of Agriculture compliance assessment officer, Richard Vong, over alleged links to organised criminals, including a syndicate led by suspected Melbourne drug trafficker Jimmy Chhav. They also raided his house.

Mr Vong will face court on Thursday charged with trafficking and possessing a drug of dependence, knowingly dealing in the proceeds of crime, dealing in property reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime and theft of Commonwealth property. A female official has been charged with knowingly dealing in the proceeds of crime and dealing in property reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime.

The latest scandal comes three years after a network of corrupt customs officers was identified at Sydney airport and charged by the federal police. At the time, Mr Pezzullo promised sweeping reforms, including many which have been implemented.

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Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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