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Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

Bangkok
posts: 1
Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

Hello,

I am wondering if it is possible to make a customs officer check your bags for e.g. drugs before you actually go through customs?

Because let's say I am coming with a flight from Amsterdam, where Marihuana is legal. Of course I checked my bags very carefully, but in some countries (for example Singapore) even a tiny amount can bring you in huge trouble. Therefore I am wondering if it would be possible to go before actually going through customs and risking being stopped and checked, maybe with a dog who than smells something and somewhere in the corner of your bag a seed is found, going to a custom officer and tell him your situation, who than checks your bag and if something is found you tell him that you of course did not want to bring that into the country?

I want to make clear that this question is hypothetically and of course sounds kind of stupid, but I am just wondering if that would be possible/legal?

I am looking forward to hear your constructive thoughts!

M

South Pole
posts: 15,408
reviews: 39
1. Re: Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

I think it's up to you to make sure your bag is 'clean' when handed over at check in or as a last resort at the baggage claim on arrival.

I wouldn't be mucking around with customs officials in that way. u would probably end up in the secondary and be sent for an xray or worse, an internal! . no thanks.

sniffer dogs can pick up residues anyway.

lots of people get stopped by our quarantine people when the dog does his/her thing on the hand luggage that has been used overseas for transport fruit or whatever. but nothing is actually found.

Geneva, Switzerland
Destination Expert
for Geneva, Liechtenstein, Air Travel
posts: 3,350
reviews: 270
2. Re: Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

Customs officer have normally a lot of rights because this is how they can do efficiently their job. While we never know what is happening behind the curtain, I could perfectly imagine luggage to be sniffed before delivery. Then the passenger would be stopped at the custom booth and the legal (if it is about a forbidden item) procedure would start... The passenger's declaration would of course be paramount.

NB: This is highly country specific. In Switzerland for instance, customs have full power at airports and within 6km from any border.

Llandudno North...
posts: 2,582
reviews: 17
3. Re: Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

Just to make it clear cannabis is NOT legal in the Netherlands at all.

The police do not actively seek prosecution of people with small amounts so it is tolerated.

But it still is not legal and if you have more than a small amount or are arrested for other crimes whilst possessing canabis you can still be prosecuted for it.

:-)

UK
posts: 40,851
reviews: 85
4. Re: Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

I think you are working on the incorrect assumption that if you haven't gone through customs, you haven't entered the country and that you would be "home free" whatever you had in your suitcase as long as you invited customs to look at it first!

This is of course incorrect, if for example and to exaggerate you had a half kilo of cocaine in there, it wouldn't matter if that was found before, during or indeed after customs.

Asking for a full search would only raise needless suspicions, after all, how come you arent confident whats in there?? Can't you just check what you pack in your suitcase like any other normal person?

5. Re: Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

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Coffs Harbour...
posts: 1,232
reviews: 139
6. Re: Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

Ronaldo, you beat me to it. that was going to be my answer. lol

Toronto, Canada
posts: 6,855
7. Re: Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

For something that's illegal, like drugs, I think you're out of luck.

For something that's legal but restricted for import/export, like certain foods, you may be able to declare it to a customs officer and simply forfeit it without other penalties. So if you remember you have some fruit in your bag -- or weren't sure whether or not you could bring fruit in -- there's probably a way out without any trouble.

But you need to know what you're carrying (it's not up to them to find it for you) and honestly declare it. If you claim to have nothing and they find otherwise, that's a crime in most if not all countries.

8. Re: Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

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Removed on: 3:14 pm, May 23, 2013
Toronto, Canada
posts: 4,774
reviews: 32
9. Re: Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

Typically when you fly into a country, your first stop is an immigration officer. They decide whether or not to let you into the country, and once they stamp that passport and accept you, you are now on their soil, and subject to all laws in that country. Customs typically is a second step, generally designed to control importation of goods , collect duty, and check for contraband (drugs, booze whatever).

You can hardly enter a country, and figure customs can pre check you out. You have already arrived. Too late to turn back then.

Edited: 9:27 am, May 23, 2013
10. Re: Make customs check your bags before going through customs?

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Removed on: 9:35 pm, May 23, 2013