Thursday, 30 March, 2023

Theft gangs threaten RMG export

Theft gangs threaten RMG export

Anyone would be surprised to know that a thief won two multi-storey houses, including a villa, about 29 lorries and other assets worth around Tk. 20 crore and is leading a lavish life. It is already known to everyone that Mohammad Shahed alias Sayeed, who has been leading a racket for 21 years and is arrested once again a couple of days ago, had amassed all his assets by stealing export-oriented garment products on their way to the port city, Chattogram. However, it is not less astonishing that he had been able to do this crime for more than two decades almost uninterruptedly!

It is learnt from media reports that Shahed was sued at least 24 times over the years over such thefts and was in jail for eight months in connection with six cases filed in the port city two years ago but returned to the old ways after being released on bail every time. It remains an enigma to all how these types of criminals are granted bail so easily, paving the way for them to get involved in more serious crimes or at least continue their old ones!

While highway theft is becoming a growing concern for garment exporters and RMG industry leaders have demanded highway vigilance for years to prevent the theft, Shahed-like criminals, as detectives earlier claimed to identify at least eight of such gangs, remain almost unpunished except being arrested on a few occasions. Such a practice has given rise to highway robbery in recent years— gradually increasing since 2019, and our garment industry is at great stake due to these criminals.    

The gangs have established such a foolproof system that exporters cannot even know about the larceny until their buyers inform them of missing items, which compromises the exporters' credibility. However, repeated thefts could lead to the loss of the reputation of Bangladesh's apparel sector and eventually cancellation of work orders, affecting the country's export earnings.

The issue must be addressed at once for the sake of the country’s economy and the culprits must face the toughest punishment as these export-oriented garment thievery incidents have much more impact on our national economy than other acts of stealing, and if such occurrences keep repeating, foreign buyers will turn their back on Bangladeshi garment exporters, bringing unbearable misery for the country's export sector.