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Staff Reporter
Rtnn: Chattogram Customs House confiscated 62,000 suspected substandard refrigerant gas-filled cylinders at the port.

An intelligence agency recommended intercepting the shipments from China, customs officials said.

An intelligence report noted that poor-quality gas for AC and refrigerators posed health risks and can lead to accidents.

Numerous importers received shipments of refrigerant valued at Tk 400-500 crores at the port by providing false declarations, said the report.

The products are of extremely low quality and manufactured by a fraudulent company, the report added.

On papers, the confiscated cylinders were brought from a Chinese company named FORANE which maintains international standards. However, the confiscated cylinders were labelled FORAN and they resembled genuine FORANE cylinders, according to the detention report from customs.

The actual company's cylinders are priced at $7-8 each, whereas the fake cylinders cost less than $2.

 Mohammad Fyzur Rahman, commissioner of Chattogram Custom House, said, "More than 10 shipments were confiscated during the clearance process. Additionally, release of approximately 40 consignments have been temporarily halted. It has been determined that counterfeit goods were brought under false declarations."

"Further steps will be taken based on the advice of the Directorate of Explosives," he added.

Importers are required to follow the Explosives Policy-1991 and obtain prior approval from the directorate.

Similarly, the importers also have to follow the regulations of the Department of Environment and Fire Service and Defense Office.

Customs officials who took part in the physical examination said the confiscated products do not properly adhere to the conditions.

The cylinders are being imported under the deceptive names of refrigerant gases such as R-22, R-134A, R-404A, R407A, and R-32.

But the import documents, including the packaging list and Bill of Entry (BE) copies, do not explicitly mention the names, the report said.

The Daily Star has managed to obtain all the import documents for the six confiscated shipments. The documents show that the allegations made by the intelligence agency are indeed true.

The importers include Nishat Traders, Asian Refrigeration Works and TS Enterprises.

According to the documents, Nishat Traders imported 34,140 refrigerant cylinders in three shipments from China this month.

The consignments brought by the importers are from Galaxy Import & Export Trade Limited in China.

Tanshia Overseas, a Clearing and Forwarding (C&F) agent, was responsible for clearance of these consignments on behalf of the importers.

Kamrul Hasan, managing director of the agency, said, "We contacted the importers after receiving information about the seizure by customs. They have denied wrongdoing."

He also said that a meeting will be held with the customs officials on the matter soon.