RM1mil worth of illicit ciggies seized off Tanjung Sepat

KLANG: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) seized over RM1mil worth of smuggled cigarettes after catching a syndicate in the act of unloading the illicit goods off the coast of Tanjung Sepat.

Selangor MMEA director Maritime Captain Siva Kumar Vengadasalam said they were alerted about the smuggling attempt when the MMEA sea monitoring system radar detected a suspicious vessel moving near Tanjung Gabang at around 6am on Wednesday (Sept 28).

"We deployed our vessel to the area to investigate and they spotted a high-powered speed boat believed to be carrying a load of illicit cigarettes.

"When they noticed the MMEA vessel they immediately picked up speed headed toward the waters of a neighbouring country," he told reporters at the Selangor MMEA headquarters on Thursday (Sept 29).

He said intelligence gathered then led personnel on land to the Batu Laut beach near Tanjung Sepat.

"They found two lorries abandoned there carrying 84,700 boxes of cigarettes loaded inside. The drivers of the vehicles were believed to have fled the scene when they realised that our vessel was approaching the beach," he said.

Siva Kumar added that the cigarettes were believed to have been smuggled from Indonesia.

He said the cigarettes were worth over RM1mil with unpaid duties.

"The syndicate was using a speedboat equipped with six engines and was capable of a top speed of 70 knots (129km/h).

"We believe this beach is a popular spot for smugglers to use to offload illicit items," he said adding that the smugglers were believed to have come from Pulau Rupat, Indonesia.

He said the smugglers could easily come to Malaysian waters in at least one and a half hours with the high-powered speedboat.

"We are now working to track down the lorry drivers.

"The case is being investigated under the Customs Act," he said.

Those with information on crimes or emergencies at sea should contact the MMEA Selangor operations centre at 03-3176 0627 or MERS 999.

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MMEA , Illicit cigarettes , smuggling


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