SIBU: The Customs Department (JKDM) Sibu branch seized a total of 500,000 sticks of contraband cigarettes at jetties for vessels bound for Song and Kapit here on Wednesday.
Sarawak Customs director Datuk Sharifah Halimah Tuanku Taha said the contrabands were seized during an operation at 10.15am jointly held with the Marine police.
“Inspection on 50 master cases found 500,000 sticks of cigarettes of various brands with unpaid duties worth RM357,500.
“The cigarettes are believed to be destined for rural destinations in the state using cargo ships and loaded at public jetties at Temple Road here,” she said in a statement yesterday.
She said the items were believed to be smuggled by sea transport and would be distributed to shopkeepers in rural areas such as in Kapit and Song using local cargo ships to avoid detection by the authorities.
“The boxes are placed temporarily at jetties before they are loaded to cargo ships,” she said.
The case is being investigated under Section 135 (1)(d) of Customs Act 1967. Sharifah Halimah called on members of the public to cooperate with Customs by gving information on smuggling of prohibited goods like cigarettes, firecrackers, drugs and firearms.
“They can contact JKDM at its toll free hotline at 1-800-88-8855 or website at aduan.customs.gov.my or any nearest customs offices,” she said.