GEORGE TOWN, Jun 22 – The police have seized 125,360 sticks of various contraband cigarettes worth almost RM70,000 which was kept hidden in a sundry shop store at Kampung Belah Dua in Permatang Pauh yesterday. Marine Operations Force (MOF) Region 1 deputy commander, Superintendent Dimin Awang said acting on tip-off and intelligence, a team conducted a check in the premises at 9pm last night before they found the items in the store room.
“We also detained its manager, a 44-year-old Indonesian man, who admitted to having kept and sold the smuggled cigarettes. Initial investigations revealed that all the cigarettes were brought in from a neighbouring country and were kept there, before selling to foreigners and residents in the area discreetly,” he told a press conference, here today.
He said the marine police were investigating whether the sundry shop, which had been operating for the past three years, was linked to any cigarette smuggling syndicate and how they got the supply. Meanwhile, on another case, Dimin said the MOF had also seized 14,600 sticks of contraband cigarettes worth RM7,376.04 which were hidden behind an abandoned house in Jalan Utama, Bukit Tengah in Seberang Perai Tengah yesterday.
“Following surveillance, the police discovered the smuggled cigarettes in several boxes and packages which were wrapped in a black net. We believe the cigarettes were left there by the syndicate and would be picked up by buyers. However, after two hours of waiting, no one came to take the items. We believe they knew our presence,” he said.
“The two cases were being investigated under Section 135 (1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967 and that the police would beef up its operations to tackle the smuggling activities. During this festive season, we will step up (our) operations and conduct checks on ‘barter trade’ boats, as well as ships in (our) waters to ensure that there are no violations of the law such as the smuggling of cigarettes, fireworks and illegal immigrants,” he said. — Bernama