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Eastern Customs: The Customs Service in British Malaya and the Hunt for Opium

Eastern Customs: The Customs Service in British Malaya and the Hunt for Opium (Hardback)

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Generations of young Britons made their careers in Malaya. Some scaled the heights of the administrative service and are well recorded in the formal histories. Others served in less high profile but equally challenging departments, carrying out the work of government in difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances. Eastern Customs traces the fascinating story of the Customs Service in British Malaya and those who made up its ranks. The service had a brief but colourful history from its introduction in 1910. For the next three decades, it took on the opium monopoly and became responsible for its importation, processing and distribution. It was a lucrative business, providing more than 50 per cent of Government revenue. But as international opposition to drugs hardened the service controlled and eventually moved to eliminate the trade, becoming an anti-narcotics force after 1946.

Derek Mackay is a retired member of HM Customs and Excise service in Malaya.

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