Customs Department vehicle damaged in incident during chase

Awai (right) and his officers showing the contraband cigarettes and other items that were seized from smugglers. —RONNIE CHIN/The Star

The State Customs Department busted a syndicate smuggling contraband cigarettes and liquor of various brands when it seized two lorries in two separate locations in Malacca, last week.

Perak Customs Department Director Datuk Awai Mamat said on Tuesday that the two seizures netted 5.7 million cigarettes worth RM3,9mil including unpaid duties.

In one of the raids, customs also seized 1,032l of liquor of various brands, worth RM141,469 in unpaid duties.

He said the Enforcement Department in Perak got a tip-off about the shipment after the Teluk Intan Customs Department had been monitoring the syndicate’s movement for a month.

In the first case, the Teluk Intan Enforcement Department stopped a lorry around 7am on March 9 at the roadside of Lebuh AMH in Kg. Ladang, Malacca.

“Customs arrested the lorry driver, a man in his 30s,” he said to reporters during a press conference. The second case proved to be a tough one as the customs officers had to engage in a high-speed chase to stop a lorry that was carrying liquor and cigarettes on the same day at 8.30am.

Awai said the lorry driver, also in his 30s, hit one of the customs vehicles when they tried to stop and check the lorry. As a result, the officers who were armed with guns had to draw their weapons, which forced the lorry driver to stop.

“This is biggest haul for Perak Customs this year. When this operation was conducted, it was found that each lorry were e accompanied by accomplices in two cars, one behind and one in front.

Awai, however, said that three other lorries escaped with the help of accomplices who ten followed the Customs officers till Tapah, as they were taking the two suspects and seized items to the Customs headquarters in Ipoh.

Both cases will be investigated under Section 135(1)(e) of the Customs Act 1967 for smuggling illegal items. If charged, those found guilty can be fined not more than 10 times of the item value and maximum not more than 20 times of the item value or jailed not more than three years or both.

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Courts & Crime , Perak , smuggling


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