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Friday January 3, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday January 3, 2014 MYT 2:31:18 PM
PETALING JAYA: Malaysians smoked some 23 billion sticks of cigarettes in 2012, of which almost eight billion sticks are contraband.
That means that almost four out of every 10 packs of cigarettes sold in the country are smuggled, revealed the Illicit Cigarette Survey 2012 commissioned by the Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers (CMTM).
According to the survey, the proportion of illegal cigarette trade had increased from 20% in 2002 to 34.5% in 2012.
The Asia-11 Illicit Tobacco Indicator 2012 report estimated that the annual tax loss for the Government from the illicit consumption cost more than RM1.9bil in 2012.
An industry source said that with the current prices of duty-paid cigarettes, those smoking contraband now cut across all demographics and were not confined to the lower income groups or foreign workers.
A check by The Star last month found that contraband cigarettes were sold openly on the streets, with many vendors and peddlers offering the items for a fraction of the price of the duty-paid packets.
In Chow Kit, a merchant at the Jalan Raja Bot market said Gudang Garam and Luffman were his most popular brands priced at RM3.50 and RM3 for 12 sticks and 20 sticks respectively.
Canyon cigarettes sell at RM3 while John International is priced at RM3.50 for a packet of 20 sticks.
In comparison, a packet of duty-paid Dunhill (20 sticks) retails for RM12.
In Petaling Jaya, foreigners operating small sundry shops were selling more discreetly, hiding the illicit tobacco products under newspapers and behind the counter.
They only offer the contraband to regular customers.
A vendor, who declined to be named, said some of his customers bought 20 to 30 packs, and in return, would get a bulk discount of 50 sen per pack.
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Buyers of illegal smokes face fine and jail
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Courts & Crime, illicit ciggie, customs department dg
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