Illicit goods covers a wide array of offences, including counterfeits. Customs officials have observed that imported goods frequently do not pay tarrifs/tax when entering Batam, via Pelabuhan Sekupang on passenger ships. The goods are then transported to Jakarta and other ports in Indonesia, suggesting a large passenger hand carried goods smuggling problem too. Customs officials have a hard time controlling this with limited manpower. They often face physical resistance especially they say from women who bring these goods in, with the help of porters. Newspapers unsurprisingly report widespread bribery to keep this illegal practice under wraps.
Indonesia's weak Customs border protection is only part of the problem. Singapore trading companies' involvement makes the problem far worse, along with the relatively easy passenger access. Singapore Customs are under fire for not controlling transhipped fake goods passing through Singapore; Batam's role is a further complication.