Police seize RM3.7 million in contraband cigarettes

Ramli (third left) addressing a press conference on the seizure of contraband cigarettes.

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Jan 2: Some 14,513 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth RM3.7 million and two vehicles were confiscated by the Sarawak General Operation Force (GOF) in three separate raids just two days into the new year.

State Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din said the contraband cigarettes were uncovered in Kuching and Padawan yesterday (Jan 1) as well as Sarikei today.

“For the case in Kuching, a 17-member team from GOF and Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) raided a two-storey house in Tabuan Jaya here at 11am yesterday (Jan 1).

“The team uncovered 9,800 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth RM2.35 million. A van was also seized,” he told a press conference today.

A 45-year-old local man was also arrested and has been remanded for four days to facilitate in investigations.

In the Padawan case, seven police officers conducted the raid at 2.30pm on a house in 10 Mile here and found 1,123 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth RM330,000 and a lorry was also seized.

“In Sarikei, police raided a house at 1.30pm today (Jan 2) and confiscated 2,300 cartons of white cigarettes worth RM529,000 and 1,290 cartons of kretek cigarettes worth RM480,000, which total value was about RM1.009 million,” he said.

Ramli added that no arrest was made in the Padawan and Sarikei cases as no one turned up at the premises even though police waited.

The cases are being investigated under Section 135 of the Customs Act 1967.

“Police have carried out surveillance for two weeks to one month and we believed the syndicate has been operating for six months.

“The modus operandi of smuggling cigarettes in Sarawak can be via land and sea especially from our neighbouring country, Indonesia,” he explained.

Noting that syndicates now employed more sophisticated methods to smuggle contraband, Ramli reassured that the police will continue to intensify efforts to break the illicit cigarette trade in Sarawak.—DayakDaily

Ramli together (second right) together with other senior officers inspecting the contraband cigarettes seized in three separate raids.
Ramli (left) showing some of the contraband cigarettes found in a lorry which was also seized from a raid.