BACHOK - An attempt by a trader to hide two cartons of illegal cigarettes under the sofa of his shop failed when the contraband was discovered by Kelantan Customs officers today.
The trader was operating at the shop at Beris Kubur Besar here when the raid was carried out by the Custom's team led by the state's assistant chief (operation unit) Mohd Hassan Ismail.
Acting on a tip-off, the 20-man team from Rantau Panjang, Pengkalan Kubur and Kota Baru, raided the shop about 11am and found the contraband of Gudang Garam and John brands worth RM1,000 (S$385.90).
The officers later recorded statement from the errant operator, in his 50s, to facilitate investigations into the illegal cigarettes, believed to have been smuggled in from a neighbouring country.
The man was among three traders detained by the Customs in the three-hour `Ops Outlet' which ended at 1pm.
The other two including a Pakistani were arrested in separate operations at two other shops near the area and at Jalan Hilir market.
The Customs officers also seized various types of cigarettes worth about RM2,000 from the two, in their 40s.
The traders told the Customs officers that they sold the cigarettes due to high demand for the contraband.
It is learnt that the trader's customers had chosen to buy smuggled cigarettes because they were cheaper at RM3 a pack compared to regular cigarettes, which cost between RM7 and RM12 per pack.
The arrest of the three brings to 15 the number of errant traders detained in Kelantan since the crackdown started on March 5.