Marine police seize contraband cigarettes worth RM52m near Pontian

Police conduct checks on the smuggled cigarettes in Pontian, March 10, 2021. — Bernama pic
Police conduct checks on the smuggled cigarettes in Pontian, March 10, 2021. — Bernama pic

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PONTIAN, March 10 — Marine Police Force Region Two (PPM W2) on Monday foiled an attempt to smuggle in cigarettes worth RM52 million after stopping a foreign cargo ship south-west of Pulau Kukup, near Pontian.

Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Division (KDNKD) director Datuk Seri Abd Rahim Jaafar said PPM W2 Intelligence Unit patrol boats detained the Mongolian registered ship at about 8.15pm after tracking its movement in Myanmar waters.

He said the patrol boats had tried to intervene but the captain of the ship refused to cooperate and the ship was finally stopped when it was some 2.9 nautical miles south-west of Pulau Kukup.

“Checks aboard the ship found over 7,000 boxes of contraband cigarettes, which is the largest seizure in the country’s history,” he told reporters at a press conference, here today.

Abd Rahim said the police had noticed that the ship had been sailing back and forth from Batam, Indonesia, to Johor west coast since last month and was distributing cigarettes to small local boats along the route.

“The ship will try to enter our waters when there is no enforcement,” he said, adding that the cigarettes were believed to be packed in plastic bags before they are thrown into the sea for the small boats to collect.

Ten crew members along with the captain, who are Myanmar and Singapore nationals aged between 22 and 60, have been detained to facilitate investigations under Section 135 (1) (a) of the Customs Act 1967, he added. — Bernama

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