JOHOR BARU: At least three Malaysians have been arrested in separate cases for trying to smuggle cigarettes worth S$118,651 (RM332,000) into the Singapore via the Woodlands checkpoint.
The smugglers, 26, 31 and 35 years of age, had used various methods to escape detection including hiding the cigarettes among packet drinks and stashing the contraband inside special compartments in their cars.
The Singapore Immigration and Checkpoints Authority in a statement said that the latest arrest and seizure was made when a Malaysian registered lorry was stopped for checks at 3am several days ago.
The consignment was declared as 3,200 cartons of assorted packet drinks.
“The lorry was directed for further inspection after officers noticed anomalies in the scanned image,” the statement said.
Upon checking, the officers uncovered 959 cartons of contraband in sealed packages placed among the consignment of packet drinks.
The cigarettes were also hidden in the rear compartment and tool box compartment of the lorry.
In early July, a Malaysian registered car was stopped for inspection and officers recovered 246 cartons of cigarettes in the modified floorboard of the car.
A 31-year-old Malaysian was detained during the 7am incident.
An hour later, another 26-year-old man was caught after some 948 packets of cigarettes were found concealed in various parts of the car.
Two months ago, four Malaysian men, between the ages of 21 and 27 were charged in the island republic for their involvement in contraband cigarette activities.
The four were nabbed on May 25 and some 3,700 cartons of duty unpaid cigarettes worth more than S$409,000 (RM1.14mil) as well as a van and lorry were seized.
Meanwhile, in Kota Tinggi, over RM55,000 worth of contraband cigarettes and fireworks smuggled into the country has been seized.
Southern Region Two marine police Asst Comm Paul Khiu Khon Chiang said the items were seized during an integrated operation with the police.
He said they were kept in the back of a Proton Wira and Mitshubishi Storm which were spotted around Bandar Penawar.
“This led an officer to a sundry shop nearby where contraband cigarettes worth RM46,482 were kept,” he said in a statement.
ACP Khiu said police detained four local men, between 20 and 29 years old, and seized two vehicles during the raids.
“All the items confiscated including the two cars are worth an estimated RM110,982.
“The cases are being investigated under Section 4(2) of the Explosives Act 1957 and Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act,” he added.