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Five Singapore Customs officers were awarded World Customs Organisation (WCO) Certificates of Merit for their contributions in enhancing border management practices.

– WCO Secretary-General Kunio Mikuriya

Every year on International Customs Day (ICD), World Customs Organisation Certificates of Merit are presented to Customs officers who have contributed significantly in a particular area of Customs work.

The theme for ICD 2015 is 'Coordinated Border Management'. In line with the theme, WCO shared a message with customs administrations worldwide, in which WCO Secretary-General Kunio Mikuriya said: "We are signalling the international customs community's aspiration to further enhance its collaboration, cooperation and working relationships with its many partners."

In Singapore Customs, five officers were recognised for their outstanding efforts in enhancing border management practices between the agency and various other stakeholders.

They are: Air Checkpoints Officer Caron Ng Ai Huay; Intelligence Officer Tan Kay Hwa; Deputy Head of Risk Assessment Victor Chia; Deputy Head of Land Checkpoints & Operations Lau See Yong; and Deputy Head of Operations Management Ng Chee Siong.

Director-General Ho Chee Pong presented the Certificates to them during the ICD & Staff Appreciation Celebration on 27 January 2015.

Three of the recipients share their experiences on coordinated border management in their areas of work.

     
Caron Ng Ai Huay
Air Checkpoints Officer

As the Deputy Officer Commanding of Changi Airport Terminal 3 Teams A and B, Mdm Ng attends monthly Airport Facilitation Committee meetings to enhance cooperation and engagement with other airport agencies such as the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority, Changi Airport Group and various airlines.

"Singapore Customs is the lead agency for trade facilitation and revenue enforcement matters. At the checkpoints, we have to strike a balance between enforcement matters and facilitating trade and tourism. In addition, we have a role to play in educating the public on Customs' regulations," she said.

Mdm Ng also works closely with the Singapore Customs Academy to host visitors from other customs administrations to share experiences on airport operations. These exchanges are useful in facilitating growth of the Singapore Customs community as a whole.

Victor ChiaDeputy Head of Risk Assessment

Mr Chia works closely with various government agencies to ensure that legitimate trade flow is not hampered by measures to combat smuggling and revenue evasion.

"As border management becomes an increasingly complex and challenging process involving multiple agencies, it is imperative that we adopt an inclusive and consultative approach, a win-win mentality and a whole-of-government spirit when interacting with our stakeholders," he said.

On building a good working relationship with stakeholders, Mr Chia said that trust and rapport can be built by being forthcoming and open while communicating. "We should make it a point to consult them whenever the need arises and proactively seek out opportunities to collaborate."

Ng Chee Siong
Deputy Head of Operations Management

Leading a team of officers that enforces against Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringing goods at the borders, Mr Ng works closely with other enforcement agencies and rights holders to come up with innovative and streamlined processes to target and interdict containers containing IPR infringing goods.

He believes that all parties have a vital role to play in the enforcement of IPR at the borders, and a coordinated approach is crucial in enhancing the fluidity and effectiveness of enforcement procedures. "The close collaboration and strong team spirit between our own officers and counterparts from the other law enforcement agencies exemplify the spirit of this award," Mr Ng said.

These collaborations have resulted in many successful IPR infringement cases being interdicted by Singapore Customs, and ensure the robustness of Singapore's IPR enforcement regime.

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