KUALA TERENGGANU: The state Customs Department made its biggest seizure of illicit cigarettes this year, crippling two separate attempts to smuggle the items worth some RM578,600 into the country.
Terengganu Customs Department deputy director Radzi Muhamad said that in the first case on Aug 16, a raiding team detained a 47-year-old man and seized 94 cartons of various brands of cigarettes worth RM11,950.02 from the kitchen of his shophouse at Bukit Amar, Bandar Permaisuri, Setiu.
Radzi said the suspect had failed to provide any documentation to prove that the cigarettes were legally imported.
Investigations also showed that the seized contraband had failed to meet the standards and specifications for cigarettes to be sold in the country.
At about 6.30am the following day, a team of officers foiled another attempt to smuggle the contraband.
Radzi said this time, based on a tip-off, the team had trailed and stopped a Toyota Hiace van at KM44, Kampung Jambu Bongkok in Marang.
“Unfortunately the driver of the van, upon noticing us, had fled and left the van behind.
“We discovered 4,020 cartons of Kretek cigarettes of various brands in the van valued at RM566,650.58,” he told a press conference yesterday.
He said the department was trying to identify and locate the owner of the vehicle.
A check on the company name listed on the van was false, he said.
Ramli added that the cases were being investigated for possession of smuggled contraband.