Brunei seizes massive haul of smuggled contraband

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, June 1 (Xinhua): A massive haul of 3,433 cartons and nine packets of cigarettes, as well as 228 bottles and 532 cans of alcohol, were seized by the Royal Customs and Excise Department, local media had reported.

According to the local daily Borneo Bulletin, the operation took place on May 24 targeting areas around the country's iconic Kampong Ayer (Water Village).

In addition to the contraband, three vessels believed to be involved in smuggling activities were seized.

According to Brunei laws, tobacco-producing and selling are strictly forbidden in the country and heavy duties are imposed on imported cigarettes and those who are convicted of tobacco smuggling will face huge fines or imprisonment.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, an Indonesian national who stockpiled more than 90 cartons of smuggled cigarettes at his residence was ordered to pay a fine of more than 70,000 Brunei dollars (USS$51,647) in fines after pleading guilty to the offense.

The 56-year-old man will have to serve 16 months in jail in default of payment of the fine. (1 Brunei dollar equals about 0.74 US dollars). - XInhua

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