Maldives to crackdown on illegal alcohol with tougher law

Government is working on a tougher new law to curb the illegal import and sale of alcohol to locals, home minister Azleen Ahmed announced Thursday.

Speaking at an event held in celebration of the International Customs day at the Customs Head Office, the Minister stated that customs had seized 23,149 bottles as part of the initiative to stop the illegal import of alcohol into the country.

As the law on drugs do not mention alcohol, the Minister noted that it had become a threat to society, adding that the tougher new law would address the issue.

The minister also vowed harsh penalties for those found in possession or smuggling alcohol.

"Islam does not only prohibit drugs, any type of intoxicant is banned in Islam. So witnessing alcohol abuse among a population that is 100 percent Muslim cannot be tolerated. We will take measures against it," the Minister insisted.

The current law on drugs carries a life sentence and a fine of MVR100,000 to MVR10 million for the illegal import or export of drugs. Acting as an accomplice in a drug related crime can see a sentence of 18 years in prison and a fine of MVR75,000.