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August 16th, 2016:

Thailand faces tough fight on plain packaging

Little known among the public, Thailand is set to introduce standardised packs for tobacco products – internationally known as “plain packaging”.

Published last year, the draft Tobacco Consumption Control Act sponsored by the Public Health Ministry is now being considered by the Council of State. The new regulation would require larger warning labels on all cigarette packages that would minimise the size of trademarks. All branding – colours, imagery, corporate logos and trademarks – will be removed, with manufacturers permitted to print only the brand name in small size.

The law is being billed as the authorities’ latest ploy to curb smoking. According to the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly, Thais puff through about 32 billion cigarettes a year, worth a total Bt40 billion. This is despite the latest excise tax hike, which cut down consumption by around 3 per cent.

If the bill is passed, Thailand would join developed countries like Australia, France and the United Kingdom in introducing plain packaging.

Australia led the way by passing its Tobacco Plain Packaging Act in 2012, since when all tobacco products have been sold in the same standard dark-brown packaging with matte finish. Authorities said the new rules would help reduce smoking rates and combat the ill-effects of tobacco.
France will be next, when it rolls out plain packs from January 1 next year, followed by the UK from May.

Meanwhile, some countries – developed and developing – are considering following suit, which should further dampen the mood of big tobacco companies like Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International.

Mulling the move are Ireland, New Zealand and Malaysia, whose Health Ministry director for disease control Chong Chee Keong has announced the plan but no date for implementation.

But it is developing countries that have to tread carefully here, since the law risks attracting lawsuits from tobacco companies while also boosting sales of contraband tobacco products.

Plain-packaging pioneer Australia was lauded by World Health Organisation regional director Shin Young-soo, whose beat covers 37 countries ranging from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and China to Vietnam. It is estimated that two people die every minute from a tobacco-related disease in this region, which consumes one in three cigarettes sold across the world.

“The legislation sets a new global standard for the control of a product that accounts for nearly 6 million deaths each year,” Shin said, urging other countries to follow suit.

But the road so far has not been smooth. Australia has faced lawsuits and accusations from World Trade Organisation member countries Dominica, Cuba, Honduras and Indonesia of breaching internationally accepted trademarks and intellectual property. A case against Australia was filed with the WTO in 2013, but a ruling is not expected within this year, due to “complexities”.

Meanwhile, Philip Morris Asia launched a challenge in 2011, arguing that the ban on trademarks breached foreign investment provisions of Australia’s 1993 Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with Hong Kong. But the arbitral tribunal in December 2015 declined jurisdiction to hear the case.

The Thai authorities must be closely following the case, since the Kingdom will definitely face the same ordeal, which could take years to resolve.

Indeed, Thailand is already facing headwinds.

During the WTO’s Trade Policy Review in November 2015, Thailand was asked several questions concerning its plan and how it would ensure that intellectual property (IP), especially trademarks, is protected.

Honduras was pretty active in the session, firing a barrage of questions at the Thai representative.

One inquiry was whether Thailand had scientific evidence that prohibiting the display of product names, marks and the name of the manufacturer or importer would have significant impact on tobacco consumption. Thailand admitted it did not.

Questioned on how it would uphold the value of IP with plain packaging, Thailand said the move was purely to reduce public health risks, and there was no restriction on the use of trademarks.

Asked how current trademark displays would be affected by the bill, Thailand said the new law had not yet been implemented.

Honduras also enquired whether Thailand’s Commerce and Finance ministries had taken any role in the decision. The Thai representative confirmed they were asked to comment when the draft law was tabled for Cabinet approval.

Thailand was also asked by China to explain how plain packaging protected trademarks and how the new act would ensure fair competition for the sale of tobacco products. Again, the response was that the legislation had not yet come into force and the objective was to reduce health risks – a legitimate public policy objective.

Meanwhile the United States and the European Union expressed concern that Thailand might extend the legislation to cover alcohol products. Thailand responded with neither a Yes or a No, merely saying that if the legislation is enforced, it would apply to both domestic and foreign products on a non-discriminatory basis.

The fight will be a long one, with all stakeholders desperate to maintain their status in a huge global industry worth more than $600 billion.

As cigarette prices rise, so does smuggling

After the government raised cigarette prices from 2,500 won ($2.27) a pack to 4,500 won in January 2015, the number of tobacco products illegally distributed in Korea rose significantly.

The government caught 3.64 billion won worth of cigarettes smuggled into the country last year, the Korea Customs Service (KCS) said. The figure soared to 6.66 billion won this year through June.

“In the past, most of the illegally distributed cigarettes came from those given to sailors or workers at ports, but there are more smuggling cases reported after the price increase,” said an official at the customs service.

The government distributes duty-free cigarettes to sailors and foreign workers at dockyards at cheap prices since the workers often travel abroad. Since the amount of tobacco given to them was sizable, the workers profited by selling them to stores that illegally sell cigarettes.

However, cheating has become more sophisticated and systematic, including smuggling using shipping containers, since the price of cigarettes has gone up. Smuggling Korean cigarettes from overseas has risen since the government’s price hike.

In fact, the price of a pack of cigarettes only accounts for 26 percent of the retail price, or just 1,182 won. Another 54.5 percent of 4,500 won are taxes and the remaining government charges are used to promote health across the country.

Park Myung-jae, a lawmaker from the ruling Saenuri Party, said tax losses from illegally distributed or smuggled tobacco products are projected to reach to between 70 billion won and 210 billion won this year. “Tobacco consumption in Korea is around 3.75 billion packs a year and experts estimate that up to 1.7 percent of the total tobacco consumed here in Korea is illegally distributed,” he said.

Assuming the rate of illegally distributed tobacco products to be 0.6 percent, yearly losses from tax evasion reaches 74.6 billion won in 2016, and the amount rises to 186.4 billion won if 1.5 percent of merchants evade taxes.

On a recent visit to a small grocery store that sells foreign snacks and nutritional supplements in Namdaemun Market in Jung District, central Seoul, a store owner in her 50s was asked for cigarettes. She went to the other side of her store where boxes were stacked. Inside of the covered box, there were some 50 cartons of cigarettes. Outside of the box, “Made in Japan” and “Busan” were written in English.

“Korean tobacco is 34,000 won and it is 37,000 won for foreign one,” she said. “If you can’t find the one you want then I will bring it from the back.”

A reporter purchased a carton of Korean cigarettes for 34,000 won and another carton of a foreign brand for 37,000 won, some 25 percent cheaper compared to the retail prices around the country.

One tobacco company in Korea looked at those products and said they all were legitimate cigarettes and not fake ones, but noted that they are distributed illegally. In Korea, cigarette merchants must have licenses to sell and cannot sell for less than 4,500 won a pack.

Illegally distributed tobacco products are being sold at various places, including Namdaemun Market, Gukje Market in Busan, Yankee Market and Chinatown in Incheon. It is hard to find them through a web search, but stores’ locations and business hours are introduced in smokers’ communities on the internet. An industry insider said that the number of communities is growing as more smokers are seeking to buy tobacco at lower prices since the price hike.

Customs officials said they caught eight people who smuggled 1.41 million packs of cigarettes worth about 6.4 billion won last Tuesday. The smugglers didn’t report the cigarettes that were in the containers they were moving.

“We were surprised that such a method was actually used since we doubted this would ever happen when the government announced its plan to raise the price,” an official at the KCS said.

An industry insider, who has been dealing with illegally distributed tobacco for about 20 years, said the cheating methods are becoming more sophisticated.

“In the past, the only problems we faced were fake cigarettes made in China and peddlers who hid duty-free cigarettes they bought overseas in their suitcases to bring them into the country,” he said. “After the price hike, we are finding more numbers of large-scale smuggling cases.”

According to him, the custom declaration process for containers shipped overseas is completed a few days before the actual departure date. After the declaration, smugglers remove cigarettes that were supposed to be exported legally during the time between the declaration and departure. Such smugglers ship empty containers and distribute the tobacco across the country.

“These products head to various places that sell cigarettes illegally such as nightclubs and billiards,” an industry insider said.

Furthermore, there are middlemen overseas that buy legally exported Korean tobacco during the distribution process and ship it back to Korea. According to the source, the majority of the Korean tobacco heads to Saudi Arabia first. Then it is distributed to places like the Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe. During this process, brokers and middlemen who buy products and take charge of distributing Korean tobacco to certain countries ship it back to Korea.

KCS recently caught smugglers using a similar cheating method. According to the customs service, a 53-year-old man surnamed Cho and four others bought 776,000 packs of exported Korean cigarettes in the Philippines at low prices from November 2014 to March of this year. They shipped them in a container to Korea, claiming the containers were carrying wooden chairs.

“There were no reasons for this type of crime to occur when the price was 2,500 won,” an industry insider said. “Smugglers didn’t have any reasons to do so by taking risks to make a small profit, but they are more willing to do so now since the price went up to 4,500 won.”

According to the KCS, only about 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent of containers entering Korea are inspected at the ports. Officials use X-ray machines as well, but the cost of the machines is a few billion won, which makes it hard for the government to operate the machinery on a large scale.

“We do understand that only a few containers go through inspections, but we do have a risk management system that focuses on containers or shippers that are more likely to commit such crimes,” said an official at the KCS. The agency labels certain countries in Southeast Asia as crime-ridden spots and implements tougher measures to catch them.

“It is very rare for smugglers to get actual imprisonment even after they are caught and we believe this is the reason why smuggling cases continue to go up,” an industry insider said. The KCS, on the other hand, said that smugglers face prison terms of up to five years and fines or tax levies as well.

Meanwhile, Rep. Park Myung-jae of the Saenuri Party proposed a bill to track cigarettes to reduce illegal distribution. Park’s proposed bill includes plans to attach special barcodes and tracking devices for each pack of cigarettes.

“The bill needs to be passed as early as possible in order to reduce the tax evasion from the illegally distributed tobacco,” Park said.


Researchers explore the lifetime effects of cigarette smoke and genetics on infertility

National Institutes of Health awards UofL $440,000 grant to support the study

In an effort to understand how specific genetic factors coupled with lifetime exposure to cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke may influence a woman’s ability to conceive, University of Louisville researchers have been awarded a three-year, $440,000 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.

Infertility can be devastating for those who long to have a child. Aside from the financial burden of infertility treatment, couples can face anxiety, depression and a variety of other health problems. Data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention U.S. National Health Statistics Report conducted from 2006-2010 found nearly 11-percent, or 6.7 million, of women ages 15-44 have an impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term and 6-percent, or 1.5 million, of married women ages 15-44 are infertile.

Kira Taylor, Ph.D., M.S., assistant professor, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health in the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences, says exposure to tobacco smoke may be more harmful in women who carry the slow metabolizer form of NAT2, a gene that plays an important role in metabolism of toxins present in tobacco smoke and other hazardous substances.

“We think that if a woman carries the slow form of the NAT2 gene, cigarette toxins will be metabolized and excreted more slowly, thus exacerbating the effects of smoking hazards – including making infertility problems more pronounced,” Taylor said.

Taylor and her research team will consider ovarian reserve – a woman’s remaining egg count – and in vitro fertilization-success rates as they relate to the cumulative impact of smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, and finally a combination of exposure to tobacco smoke and presence of the NAT2-slow gene.

Participants will provide a urine sample, which will be used to assess NAT2 genotype and recent exposure to cigarette smoke, and they will answer a questionnaire regarding lifetime exposure to cigarette smoke. Researchers will assess ovarian reserve through hormone levels and ultrasound, and success rates of in vitro fertilization procedures will be recorded.

“The results of this study will add to a growing body of evidence for the role of current smoking, past smoking and passive smoking on ovarian reserve and in vitro fertilization,” Taylor said. “We hope to determine for the first time whether the observed effects of smoking are stronger among women carrying the slow version of NAT2.”


Study co-investigators include Henry Bohler, M.D., associate professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health, and practicing physician with the University of Louisville Physicians Fertility Center; David Hein, Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology; and Rachel Neal, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

If Taylor and her colleagues find an interaction between NAT2 and smoking with regard to ovarian reserve or in vitro fertilization, it could pave the way for more accurate analyses of the effects of smoking. In addition, the NAT2-slow gene may be a biomarker for fertility specialists to consider as a predictor of in vitro fertilization success or failure. In the future, it also may be possible to treat individuals who are more genetically susceptible – those with the slow NAT2 gene – using personalized medicine in the form of drug or gene therapy to mitigate the effects of exposure to harmful substances.

Sale of cigarettes from vending machines set to be banned

Details of retailers who sell cigarettes to minors will be published online

The Department of Health is to introduce on-the-spot fines for retailers who sell cigarettes to minors, and that information will then be published online.

New measures will also ban the sale of cigarettes from vending machines.

Following a public consultation, the department is preparing the draft heads of a Bill which will impose tougher penalties for those who sell the products illegally.

The proposed legislation will allow for the introduction of minimum suspension periods for retailers convicted of offences.

Name and shame

It will also allow for fixed penalties to be introduced and for those retailers to be “named and shamed”.

The proposals were first proposed by former minister for health James Reilly in 2014 but have been revisited by Minister for Health Simon Harris.

There is also a series of measures aimed at further regulating the sale of e-cigarettes.

Place Matters for Tobacco Control

For too long, tobacco industry strategies to normalize and glamorize use of their product have perpetuated a preventable epidemic. Although US adult smoking rates declined to 15.1% in 2015 (, nearly half a million people die annually just from cigarette use in the United States ( Projections are that 5.6 million US children alive today will die prematurely from tobacco-related disease ( For every tobacco-related death, approximately 30 more individuals live with chronic tobacco-induced disease and disability (

A place-based strategy for tobacco control can promote progress toward ending the epidemic. A culture shift—that is, changing “the way we do things around here”—can create healthy change. For example, efforts to foster tobacco-free norms have resulted in healthier worksites, restaurants, bars, and other public places. Denormalizing and deglamorizing use in an even wider variety of high-risk settings—places where tobacco is sold or used—can further accelerate culture change to foster health.


In the United States, tobacco products are sold in about 375 000 retail outlets ( Establishments such as gas stations, convenience stores, supermarkets, warehouse clubs, and pharmacies had annual tobacco sales exceeding $50 billion in 2007. Retail sites also serve as marketing venues for tobacco; the average store selling cigarettes has nearly 30 tobacco product advertisements, with about a third visible below 3 feet—eye level for some children.

These sites can change. When CVS, the nation’s second largest pharmacy chain, made a landmark decision in 2014 to stop selling tobacco products at its more than 9600 stores, this action made a bold statement about what should be considered normal practice for health-related businesses (

Also, raising the minimum legal age of sale from 18 years to 21 years could prevent high school students from buying tobacco for peers, preclude teen initiation, and reduce lifetime premature deaths by an estimated 10% ( Most Americans and current smokers support this change, which (as of June 2016) has been enacted by at least 145 localities, including New York City, Chicago, Boston, and the states of Hawaii and California.


Military exchanges and commissaries have traditionally sold tobacco products at prices lower than in surrounding communities. A stipulation that military outlets charge no more than 95% to 100% of the lowest competitive price for tobacco products, coupled with exemptions from state and local taxes, have led to discounts that can be substantial. ( Lower prices contribute to higher smoking rates in the military ( compared with the general public—24% vs 19% in 2011—with the highest rates in the Marine Corps and Army (30.8% and 26.7%, respectively). Of note, up to 40% of current service members who smoke initiated use after joining the military (

In April 2016, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter issued policy guidelines to raise prices on all tobacco products (including e-cigarettes) in military stores to “match the prevailing local price” in civilian stores when taxes are included ( He also announced plans for increasing tobacco-free zones around areas frequented by children.


The rate of smoking among the nation’s 2 million public housing residents is double the national average (, related to higher use in lower-income populations. Most residents live in multi-unit settings where secondhand smoke can spread (for example, through ventilation ducts); this increases exposure risk to fellow residents of whom approximately a third (750 000) are children. To date, about 10% of the 3200 public housing authorities are voluntarily smoke-free.

Julián Castro, secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), announced a proposed rule last November (, supported by most residents, to prohibit indoor smoking on all HUD-supported public housing properties. As this policy moves forward, engaging residents in implementation will be critical, with special attention to facilitating access to smoking cessation services where needed.


Tobacco use represents the leading cause of death in persons with behavioral health issues (, who consume approximately 40% of cigarettes in the United States ( Among longtime misconceptions are beliefs that persons with mental illness have no interest in, or ability to, quit because they use tobacco for necessary self-medication. Such misconceptions, refuted by recent studies, have to date, fostered a culture where tobacco is tolerated in treatment settings.

This culture is changing. Between 2005 and 2011, the proportion of state psychiatric hospitals that are smoke-free has steadily increased, from 20% to 83% ( Furthermore, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration now recommends that all of its funded treatment sites be tobacco-free (


Between 2002 and 2014, the number of young adults aged 18 to 25 years who started smoking increased from nearly 650 000 to almost 1.2 million ( In 2014, about 18% of full-time college students were smokers.

The Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative began in 2012, launched by a collaboration featuring the American College Health Association, the University of Michigan, and the Department of Health and Human Services (which I represented at that time as assistant secretary for health). The goal has been to encourage voluntary adoption of smoke-free and tobacco-free campuses. Doing so can support the many on campuses who are trying to quit while dissuading others from starting. Among the more than 4000 campuses in the country, the number that are smoke-free more than tripled between 2010 and 2016 (, from 446 to 1483 (of which 1137 are completely free of all tobacco products).

Debating this policy option can catalyze constructive deliberations among all members of a college community about how to make campuses healthier. Engaging students and student government, faculty, administration, and staff—users and nonusers alike—is vital to success.


Although minor league baseball has banned use of smokeless tobacco since the 1990s, major league baseball has instead long considered its use the norm. Young boys often emulate use by their sports heroes, which contributes, in part, to smokeless tobacco use rates of about 15% in male high school students (

Since 2015, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City have led the first wave of cities to prohibit smokeless tobacco within their major league baseball stadiums. ( This policy applies to players, staff, and fans alike. When California makes all its stadiums tobacco-free in 2017, nearly a third of all major league parks will be affected.

Place matters. Changing culture can restore healthy tobacco-free norms in many places. Recognizing and reinforcing successful approaches broadly can move the country toward a tobacco-free future.


Corresponding Author: Howard Koh, MD, MPH (

About the Author: He is also the former Massachusetts commissioner of public health and the 14th assistant secretary for health for the US Department of Health and Human Services. A quadruple-boarded physician, Dr Koh has published more than 250 articles in medical and public health literature, earned more than 70 awards for interdisciplinary achievements in public health, and has received 5 honorary doctorate degrees.

Published Online: July 6, 2016, at

Disclaimer: Each entry in The JAMA Forum expresses the opinions of the author but does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of JAMA, the editorial staff, or the American Medical Association.

Additional Information: Information about The JAMA Forum is available at Information about disclosures of potential conflicts of interest may be found at

British American Tobacco ‘bribed’ police – affidavit

Johannesburg – JSE-listed conglomerate British American Tobacco (BAT) and the private security firm it has contracted have been accused of running a scheme of bribing South African police officers, spying on competitors using police cameras, and even sourcing confidential business information on one of its rivals from officials in the SA Revenue Service (Sars).

The latest explosive allegations against BAT are contained in a sworn affidavit made by a former employee of Forensic Security Services (FSS), a private security outfit run by former apartheid era intelligence agent Stephen Botha.

According to the affidavit, a copy of which has been leaked online along with scores of other documents that purport to prove BAT’s unlawful spying on local competitors, BAT pays FSS about R150m a year, ostensibly to help fight the illegal cigarette trade in South Africa.

However, if the former FSS employee is to be believed, FSS, with the full blessing of senior BAT executives, had instead been running a massive unlawful spying and disruption programme aimed at ensuring it kept hold of the lion’s share of South Africa’s multi billion rand tobacco market.

Court application

The former FSS employee’s affidavit forms part of a high court application against BAT by Carnilinx, a producer and distributor of cheaper cigarette brands.

“In hindsight, the purpose of my employment was for BATSA (BAT’s South African filial) to deploy my investigative skills together with backup from corrupt SAPS and SARS officials in order to disrupt the business of BATSA’s competitors, Carnilinx being one of them,” reads an excerpt from the affidavit.

The ex FSS employee then goes on to claim, in startling detail, how BAT and FSS allegedly broke the law.

Some of the most shocking allegations contained in the affidavit include the following claims:

* BAT and FSS ran a secret bribery programme, in accordance with the strategies contained in a BAT document entitled the Project Management Plan (PMP), whereby law enforcement officials were “paid up to R5 000 a month for co-operating with FSS and BATSA in disturbing Carnilinx’s trading operations”.

The affidavit goes on to explain that police officials were often fed false information by members of FSS’s network of agents across the country, which then prompted police to harass and even arrest Carnilinx employees on suspicion of being in possession of illegal tobacco products.

“Thus, each law enforcement agent, whether it is from SARS, JMPD (Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department) or SAPS, would be on BATSA’s informal payroll, receiving a minimum of R2 000 each per month up to R5 000 per month. Effectively, this was a bribe by BATSA to corrupt police officials who it regarded as trusted,” reads the affidavit.

* FSS ran an extensive unlawful spying programme in order to monitor Carnilinx distribution vehicles, facilities and employees. This included securing the use of an entire CCTV room at the JMPD’s CCTV monitoring facility in Johannesburg by means of an agreement with the company that manages the control rooms on behalf of the City of Johannesburg (CoJ).

“(The company running the control rooms) has made available to FSS, since approximately 2012, an entire room for FSS(‘s) sole usage which would allow FSS access to all of the City’s cameras. This then gave FSS an opportunity to obtain footage of all vehicles that were used by Carnilinx, together with their registration numbers. A special camera, camera number 5, was strategically positioned so as to allow FSS to view Carnilinx’s premises,” the ex FSS employee alleges.

* A senior SARS official, whose name is mentioned in the affidavit, was in “constant communication” with FSS staff.

“BATSA had arranged for SARS . . . to arrange regular monthly inspections at Carnilinx. During the course of the inspection, Carnilinx would deliver to SARS . . . all the production sheets, reports of production, confidential information . . . as well as sales figures,” reads the affidavit, which then goes on to claim that the SARS employee had regularly met with a FSS agent at “the Wimpy in Edenvale”, where all of Carnilinx’s business information was given to the FSS agent by the SARS official.

According to the affidavit, senior BATSA employees, all named in the document, would ultimately take possession of the Carnilinx documents.

* FSS unlawfully placed tracking devices on Carnilinx’s delivery trucks in order to track their movements. The purpose of this according to the affidavit, included “to keep a monitor on the vehicle whilst it is moving so as to communicate with the relevant law enforcement officers such as SAPS, JMPD and SARS officials to stop the truck on the highway, seize the goods and arrest the drivers”.

The ex FSS employee also explains in details how the tracking devices were put on the vehicles by a FSS operative, who is named in the affidavit, mostly at night.

“(Name of FSS employee) would wear an all-black cat suit on such occasions and all persons present with him would be required to wear gloves.”


A BATSA spokesperson says the company will “under no circumstances… condone illegal behaviour”.

The company says it is “currently involved in litigation with certain manufacturers, who have made claims that some of our activities went beyond our legitimate interest in combating the illicit (tobacco) trade”.

“We are conducting an investigation with the assistance of an external law firm and if we were to find that illegal activity had occurred, we would, of course, take appropriate action,” says the spokesperson.

The company did not want to provide detailed comment on the allegations raised in the affidavit.

“. . . given that our investigation is ongoing and that some of the allegations are the subject of legal proceedings, it would not be appropriate for us to comment any further on them.

In a statement issued by its media office, Sars maintained that it “considers any alleged act of corruption, whether perceived or actual, in a serious light”. It did not respond in detail to queries around the Sars officials’ alleged involvement in providing Carnilinx’s business information to BATSA.

“The department will not dignify any enquiry based on information which you are unlawfully in possession of with a response,” said SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Mashadi Selepe.

“Any such allegations will be investigated by the authority competent to do so in accordance with the laws of our country,” added Selepe.

JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said only staff of the company that operated the CCTV facility and JMPD officers were allowed access to its CCTV rooms.

“The JMPD does not tolerate any form of bribery or corruption, as officers are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and proper manner at all times,” said Minnaar.

The FSS was approached for comment, but had not responded by time of publication.

* This article was updated at 14:30 on Tuesday to add the JMPD’s response.