Shop assistant caught despite hiding illegal cigs

Shop assistant caught despite hiding illegal cigs
Contraband goods: Customs officers confiscating packets of contraband cigarettes that were found at the sundry shop in Bandar Selesa Jaya, Skudai.

JOHOR BARU - A shop assistant who saw Customs officers coming to his outlet tried to hide illegal cigarettes under the counter, but to no avail.

The officers who raided the sundry shop in Bandar Selesa Jaya, Skudai, about 2.40pm yesterday, were wise to such tricks and after a brief search, they uncovered the smuggled cigarettes.

They arrested the 31-year-old man who hails from Kerala, India, and seized the John and Canyon contraband cigarettes.

Illegal cigarettes are smuggled into the country and are sold at between RM3.50 (S$1.31) and RM5. The country has lost nearly RM1.9bil due to cigarette smuggling.

Under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967, those caught selling illegal cigarettes can be jailed up to three years, fined up to 20 times the value of the seized items, or both.

The Customs Department launched the Ops Outlet and Ops Pacak operations last year to crack down on the contraband cigarette trade.

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