KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Customs officers have seized contraband cigarettes worth more than RM5mil in a raid at a terrace house in Luyang here.
In the operation at 7pm on Wednesday (Sept 13), its enforcement operations unit, together with the elite Customs Operational Battle Force Response Assault (Cobra) team found over 5.9 million sticks of various brands of illicit cigarettes.
Sabah Customs assistant-director general Mohd Nasir Deraman said they also arrested a 29-year-old local man in the raid which was conducted thanks to a public tip-off.
He said the seized cigarettes were worth some RM1.18mil, with an estimated unpaid duty amounting to RM4.034mil.
“The modus operandi involved stashing illicit items in a residential house in order to fool the authorities,” he said during a press conference at the Sabah Customs Enforcement office here on Friday (Sept 15).
He added that the suspect is being investigated under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967 for smuggling untaxed goods.
It provides for a fine not less than 10 times the value of the items seized or RM100,000, whichever was higher, on conviction.
“Those found guilty also face a jail term not less than six months and not more than five years,” Mohd Nasir said.
Towards this end, he urged the people to provide cooperation to the Customs Department in its effort to combat smuggling particularly involving goods such as cigarettes, alcohol, firecrackers and drugs, among others.
He also warned the public not to get involved in smuggling activities that will not only harm the country’s revenue but also pose a threat to national security and the well-being of the people.
“The public can assist us by channeling information related to any smuggling activities by calling the Customs toll-free number at 1-800-88-8855 or by reporting at the nearest Customs offices,” he said.
Mohd Nasir assured that identities of informants would be kept confidential.