KOTA BHARU – The Kelantan anti-smuggling unit (UPP) seized 8,720 kg of tobacco believed to have been smuggled in from Thailand, worth nearly RM400,000 in a raid in Pasir Mas early today.
Its commander Rusli Karim said the raid was carried out around 2am at a store in Kampung Banggol Chicha, Pasir Mas.
“The raid was conducted after a week-long surveillance. We found 436 tobacco bales believed to have been smuggled from Thailand through some jetties along the Malaysia-Thai border,” he told a press conference here.
Rusli said investigations revealed that the hidden store was used as a transit before the tobacco was being transferred to a cigarette factory in the west coast area.
“The syndicate has been operating since the beginning of the year by using four-wheel-drive vehicles to transport small amount of tobacco at a time to avoid being detected by the authorities,” he said.
Rusli said all of the suspects escaped the raid.
“But we have identified the syndicate involved. We also believe that the seizure has crippled the smuggling network,” he said.
The seizure was the first for this year and the largest in three years, he said.
Rusli said the tobacco would be handed over to the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board (NKTB) for further action under Section 51 of the NKTB Act and Section 135 (1) (d) of the Customs Act 1967. – BERNAMA