Police smoke out RM2mil of contraband fags

JOHOR BAHARU – The Johor police have ‘smoked out’ a double-storey house in Taman Sutera here, used over the past nine years as a warehouse for contraband cigarettes.

A police team seized an assortment of cigarettes worth about RM2 million when it raided the house in Jalan Sutera Kuning early yesterday. The police arrested seven men, including five Myanmars, to facilitate investigations into the seizure.

The raid was a joint effort of personnel from the Taman Perling police station and Marine Operations Force. Johor Baharu (north) police chief Assistant Commissioner Ruslan Hassan said the Myanmars and the locals, in their 20s and 30s, were caught napping at the time of the raid.

“At the time of our raid, the 3.5 million sticks of cigarettes were awaiting distribution overseas. We believe that a syndicate had used the house since 2002 as a warehouse for contraband cigarettes,” he said, adding that the Myanmars were illegal immigrants.

Ruslan said, apart from the cigarette seizure, the raiding party also seized 12 bottles of liquour, believed to be contraband, from the house. He said the cigarettes and liquour would be handed over to the state customs department for further investigations. At the time of the 2.30am raid, the cigarettes, initial investigations revealed, were awaiting international distribution.

The police chief said the Myanmars would be investigated under Section 6(2) of the Immigration Act 1963 whilst the locals would face charges under Section 56 of the same act for harbouring illegals.