TUMPAT - The magistrate's court yesterday sentenced three sundry shop owners each to six days' jail, and fines of between RM1,500 (S$576) and RM3,000 for possessing contraband cigarettes here last week.
Wan Zulkifli Wan Jaafar, 31, Muhamad Ruslan Razali, 28, Azizul Husin, 30, had pleaded guilty to their offences before magistrate Ahmad Adha Amir Yasser Amri.
The men were charged under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967 for possessing goods, which were forbidden from being imported.
Wan Zulkifli was charged with possessing three packs of Surya, Nusantara (seven), John (two) and Tex (11) at his shop in Kampung Kebakat here at 1pm on March 20.
Ruslan was charged with possessing various contraband cigarettes valued at RM249 at Sedar Maju Solution in Kampung Sedar at 12.20pm the same day.
Lastly, Azizul was charged with possession of a carton of Nusantara, Surya (one pack), John (one carton), Astro (eight packs) and D&J (seven packs) at his shop in Kampung Air Dingin at 12.50pm, also on the same day.
All three were unrepresented while Customs prosecuting officer Norbayani Shamsuddin prosecuted.
Norbayani had asked the court for appropriate sentences, while the three appealed for a light sentence as they had to support their families.
The proceedings were the latest in the Customs Department's war against the sale of illicit cigarettes valued at millions of ringgit a year.
Enforcement officers have been conducting an operation named Op Outlet to curb such sales, recognising that not only do smuggled cigarettes cause financial losses, they also encourage people to smoke more as the prices are cheaper.