BUTTERWORTH: More than 3.7 million sticks of contraband cigarettes were seized in two recent operations by the Customs Department here.
Penang Customs director Datuk Saidi Ismail said the first case was uncovered after the department's enforcement team raided a vacant building in Jalan Batu Maung on the island on Tuesday (June 11).
"In the building, we found 708,000 sticks of contraband cigarettes worth RM56,952 with a tax value of RM321,956.
"There was nobody in the building and we believe the syndicate purposely placed their goods in a vacant building to avoid detection.
"We are currently tracking down the building owner," he said during a press conference at the department's store in Bagan Jermal here Friday (June 14).
On Thursday (June 13), Customs officers stopped a 10-tonne lorry at KM267 of the North South Expressway and found it laden with three million sticks of contraband cigarettes, worth RM240,000 with tax value of RM2mil.
"The man was arrested at 3am and has been remanded for five days.
"The driver will be charged under Section 135(1)(e) of the Customs Act 1967," added Saidi.
Meanwhile, six containers at the North Butterworth Container Terminal were also found to have contained prohibited wood products to be exported.
"The contents were declared as Finger Rubber Wood Joint Sawn Timber, but checks found them to be Rubber Wood Joint Sawn Timber which is prohibited from export.
"The goods are valued at an estimated RM318,000 with a wood levy of RM25,000.
"The exporters tried to disguise the contents in the containers by putting a layer of approved goods in front as disguise," said Saidi.