BUTTERWORTH: The Penang Customs Department seized more than 3.7 million sticks of contraband and clove cigarettes worth nearly RM2.6mil, including tax, in two separate operations.
Its director Datuk Saidi Ismail said the value of the contraband was close to RM300,000, while the tax was valued at about RM2.3mil.
He said some 708,000 sticks of contraband cigarettes were found at a vacant building in Jalan Batu Maung in the first operation on Tuesday.
“The contraband cigarettes are worth RM56,952 with unpaid taxes of RM321,956.
“We believe the syndicate members had placed their goods in this vacant building to avoid detection.
“We are looking for the building owner,” he said during a press conference at the department’s store in Bagan Jermal yesterday.
Saidi said on Thursday, they stopped a 10-tonne lorry laden with three million sticks of contraband cigarettes worth RM240,000 with tax value of RM2mil at the 267km mark of the North-South Expressway.
He said they picked up the lorry driver, who has since been remanded for five days.
He said the case was being investigated under Section 135(1)(e) of the Customs Act 1967, which carries a fine of up to 20 times of its contraband value or up to three years’ jail, or both.
On another matter, Saidi said six containers were found to have contained prohibited wood products meant for export at the North Butterworth Container Terminal.
“The content was declared as finger-jointed rubber wood, but checks revealed that it was rubber wood sawn timber which is banned for export.
“The goods are valued at an estimated RM318,000, with levy of RM25,000.
“The exporter tried to pass off the contents in the containers by placing a layer of approved goods in the front as a disguise,” he said.