Customs officers let suspect fetch child from school

ALOR SETAR, Malaysia - Nabbed for allegedly selling contraband cigarettes, a grocery shop owner pleaded with Customs officers to let him go so that he could fetch his 11-year-old daughter home from school.

The compassionate officers allowed him to do so before they took him to the Customs DepartĀ­ment office for questioning.

The man and his wife, both 42, were caught by surprise when the officers raided his shop in Kedondong, Pokok Sena, near here, in the operation codenamed Ops Outlet yesterday.

The couple cooperated with the raiding team who went through the shelves, boxes and other compartments, and found a flour box on the floor filled with packets of untaxed cigarettes of various brands and more packets inside a cabinet under the counter.

Eighty-four packets of cigarettes worth RM160 (S$60) were seized from the shop. A source from the department said the sum in unpaid tax was RM1,643.

During yesterday's operation, two raiding teams inspected a total of six grocery shops with only one outlet found selling the banned cigarettes. One of the shops has a sticker at its counter which read: "Do not sell or buy smuggled cigarettes."

In Segamat, three suspects were arrested and 10 cartons of illicit cigarettes seized during raids at three sundry shops along Jalan Medoi yesterday.

One of the suspects claimed that there were no such goods in his shop but Customs officers eventually found three cartons.