The Sand Smugglers

The Sand SmugglersSingapore’s business-friendly climate has seen the country grow by leaps and bounds — literally. But it’s all based on a murky, billion-dollar illegal trade in sand.   

BY CHRIS MILTON

The causeway linking Singapore to the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula is normally clogged with cars and trucks making the short international journey, but things got particularly bad on Feb. 1, when traffic came to a grinding halt. Thirty-seven trucks were abandoned where they stood on the Malaysian side, just yards away from a customs checkpoint, their drivers having simply walked away. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that they were carrying an illegal substance — but not drugs, illegal migrants, or precious jewels. They were carrying sand.

Singapore’s economy quite literally rests upon maintaining a huge and continuous supply of sand — and smuggling has become a multibillion-dollar trade, driving a huge web of corruption and theft in a country renowned for honest business practices and corporal punishment… Read More>>

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