GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Region One Marine Police Force (PPM) busted a syndicate storing and selling contraband cigarettes after detaining two individuals and seizing various types of cigarettes worth RM264,750 in two raids in Sungai Jawi, Nibong Tebal, near here, yesterday.
Penang PPM Region One commander ACP Rosman Ismail said his team, which was carrying out Op Kontraband, had tailed a Perodua Axia car in the Taman Sri Aman residential area in Sungai Jawi at 6.30pm yesterday before detaining a 23-year-old woman who was driving the vehicle in a suspicious manner.
“Upon inspection, they found 19 packs of contraband cigarettes in the back seat before the interrogation of the woman led them to a warehouse where cigarettes were stored in Kampung Jawi, Sungai Bakap at 7.30pm yesterday.
“A search of the warehouse in a cocoa plantation revealed several boxes and sacks containing 1,921 cartons of smuggled cigarettes. In less than 30 minutes, a man arrived (at the warehouse) and admitted that the premises belonged to him,“ Rosman told a press conference, here, today.
He said when the police wanted to arrest the 40-year-old man, the man offered a bribe of RM10,000 to the officers and members of PPM who carried out the raid as inducement for not taking action against him.
Rosman said his team then warned the man three times (about bribing them) but he ignored them and even offered them a higher amount of money so that he (the man) could avoid prosecution.
He said the man was then arrested under Section 17 (b) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 for offering bribes to the police. Police confiscated the RM10,000 cash.
“Meanwhile, preliminary investigations found that the syndicate was masterminded by the man who brought in all the contraband cigarettes from neighbouring countries by sea before they are stored in the warehouse. All the cigarettes were for the Penang and the northern region market,“ he said.
He also said the syndicate was believed to have been carrying out cigarette smuggling activities from neighbouring countries since last year and following the arrest of the two individuals, the police confiscated a car, a motorcycle and cash all worth RM44,000.
“The total amount of seized items, namely cigarettes and confiscated items, was RM308,750 while the man and woman, who are friends, were remanded for four days to assist in the investigation under Section 135 (1) (d) of the Customs Act 1967,“ he added. — Bernama