Malaysia's customs stub out sales of illegal cigs

Malaysia's customs stub out sales of illegal cigs
Illegal goods: Customs officers taking out the contraband cigarettes found hidden at a sundry shop in Taman Melewar, Batu Pahat.

BATU PAHAT - Three Indian nationals - one without travel documents - were arrested during a Customs raid on shops selling smuggled cigarettes.

Enforcement officers found the contraband at a sundry shop in Taman Melewar 2 here and detained the trio.

The one without passport pleaded to be released, claiming that he was merely visiting his friends at the shop but he was not let off the hook.

In Taman Beroleh here, a pregnant local woman, her immigrant husband and a foreign worker were arrested after Customs officers found illegal cigarettes at their mini market.

In George Town, two retailers were arrested following Customs raids at their outlets in Perak Road and Mutiara Heights.

The owner of the sundry shop in Perak Road, in his 50s, smiled and appealed to pressmen not to take his photograph as he was being led away by the raiding team.

About 30 cartons of illegal John, Suria and Gurang Garam cigarettes were seized from the two outlets.

Over the past three days, Customs enforcement teams conducted raids in several states on shops suspected of selling illicit cigarettes.

Three other retailers were arrested in Kelantan, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

The Customs Department launched Ops Outlet last March to combat the illegal cigarette trade.

Under the operation, officers raided more than 8,000 outlets nationwide, seized more than RM11.72 million (S$4.34 million) worth of smuggled cigarettes and arrested more than 1,000 retailers.

Those with information on illegal cigarettes can call 1800 88 8855.

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