Millions of ciggies seized from homes

Large haul: Sazali (third from left) and department officers showing the seized contraband cigarettes during a press conference.

JOHOR BARU: The Customs Department has seized more than 2.08 million undeclared cigarettes stashed in three homes.

Customs Enforcement and Compliance deputy director-general Datuk Sazali Mohamad said the contraband items, worth around RM625,000, were seized at three houses in Jerantut, Pahang and Marang, Terengganu on Sept 12.

“The clove and white cigarettes had undeclared duties amounting to RM2.58mil.

“Based on the various brands of cigarettes that were stashed, we believe that they were brought in from Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam,” he told a press conference at the Johor Customs headquarters here yesterday.

Sazali said the raid was conducted thanks to information from the public followed by two weeks of intelligence gathering.

He added that investigations were ongoing under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967, including to identify the owners of homes used for the illegal activity.

The offence is punishable with a minimum fine of 10 times the value of the seized items or RM100,000, depending on which is higher, and not more than 20 times the amount or RM500,000, whichever is greater; or imprisonment of six months to five years; or both.

In a separate case, Sazali said the department crippled an attempt to smuggle illicit cigarettes from Malaysia into Singapore via the Causeway.

“We found a shipment of 830,000 sticks of white cigarettes on a lorry at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex checkpoint on Sept 6.

“The items, worth RM166,000, had unpaid duties estimated at RM564,000. The products were brought in from China to be sold in Singapore.

“The 39-year-old lorry driver was arrested and charged at the Johor Baru Magistrate’s Court on Sept 19, where he pleaded guilty and was jailed six months,” he added.

Sazali urged the public to assist the department with information relating to smuggling activities by calling the toll-free number at 1800-88-8855 or by heading to the nearest Customs office.

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