Johor police chief says Sosma more effective law against smugglers

Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay (right) with contraband cigarettes that were scheduled to be disposed of by the authorities following the completion of the cases. — Picture by Ben Tan
Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay (right) with contraband cigarettes that were scheduled to be disposed of by the authorities following the completion of the cases. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, Nov 25 — The controversial Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012 that allows for detention without trial would make for a more effective law to curb smuggling, Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said today.

Ayob had last month proposed parking cigarette smuggling under organised crime, one of the categories that allows for Sosma to be invoked, reiterated his suggestion.

He said doing so is necessary as police currently could only use the Customs Act to fight contraband and cigarette smuggling.

“If the offence can be categorised as organised crime under the Sosma Act 2012, police can take action against the entire syndicate, including the syndicate’s head,” he told a news conference at the Johor police contingent headquarters here today where contraband cigarettes and various goods worth RM2.5 million that was earlier seized from 2018 to last October were disposed.

Ayob indicated that smuggling networks were only incapacitated temporarily under current laws which charge only those found in possession of the contraband goods, like lorry drivers and shopkeepers, rather than the masterminds.

“For example, a lorry driver or shopkeeper will be fined RM1,000 or RM2,000. 

“This amount is not a problem for them to settle because they may get anything from RM2,000 to RM3,000 for a trip,” he said.

He said stronger laws needed to be used against smugglers as their activities can cost the government to lose almost RM5 billion a year through unpaid taxes on goods.

The Johor police today disposed of contraband cigarettes and other smuggled goods from 30 completed investigation cases that ended in prosecution.

According to Ayob, 12 cases were from the Johor Baru South police district with a seized value of RM820,000, 10 cases were from the Iskandar Puteri police district (RM916,618) and eight from the Seri Alam police district (RM763,382).

He said that during the period, Johor police also carried out 467 raids and a total of 36 suspects, aged between 26 and 53, were arrested involving both citizens and foreigners.

“Of the total, 12 were detained in Johor Bahru South, 15 in Iskandar Puteri and nine more in Seri Alam,” he said.

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