KOTA BARU, Jan 14 — The Kelantan Customs Department seized 13,810 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth RM187,044 in two separate operations in Setiu, Terengganu and Gua Musang, Kelantan in the first two weeks of this year.
Its director Datuk Mohd Nasir Yusoff said during an operation conducted last night, the Kota Baru Enforcement Branch operation team gave chase and arrested a lorry suspected of transporting contraband cigarettes in front of a school in Mile 29, Jalan Kota Baru-Terengganu, Setiu, at 3.40am.
“An inspection on the lorry used by the suspect, a local man, aged 47, led to the discovery of 5,400 cartons of cigarettes worth RM86,400 with an estimated undeclared excise duty valued at RM486,000,” he told a media conference at the Kelantan Customs headquarters in Padang Bongor here today.
Meanwhile on January 8, he said Customs also detained a lorry at Gua Musang and upon inspection, 8,410 cartons of cigarettes worth RM100,644 with undeclared excise duty worth RM707,037.84 was found.
However in the incident at 2.15pm, the lorry driver and his attendant managed to escape, he said, adding that the cases were investigated under Section 135(1) E of the Customs Act 1967.
Mohd Nasir said the latest syndicate’s modus operandi involved hiding the cigarettes being smuggled in boxes of disposable foam cups and used tyres to hoodwink the authorities.
“They also used land routes as soon as we launched a special operation at the Malaysia-Thailand border in Tumpat and Rantau Panjang, Pasir Mas at present.
“We will also carry out special operations at the borders with Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Perak to curb cigarette and firecrackers smuggling activities which are in high demand in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration,” he added. — Bernama