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KUALA TERENGGANU, April 7 -- The Royal Malaysian Customs Department seized 747,120 sticks of white cigarettes of various brands worth RM99,818 in two separate raids in Setiu and Marang districts on March 31.
Customs director-general Datuk Seri Abdul Latiff Abdul Kadir said unpaid tax on the cigarettes amounted to RM503,051.
He said 508,000 sticks of white cigarettes without customs clearance were seized in the first raid carried out in the Lembah Bidong coastal area in Setiu at about 1 am.
"During the raid, the syndicate was transferring the contraband cigarettes from a boat to a lorry parked on the beach. However, the suspects managed to escape upon seeing the raiding party.
"But we seized the 508,000 sticks of cigarettes worth RM66,040, with unpaid duty valued at RM341,884,” he told a press conference here today.
Abdul Latif said that on the same day, they raided a shop lot in Kampung Pak Madah, Marang and found 239,120 sticks of white cigarettes worth RM33,778, with unpaid duty amounting to RM162,167.
"A 20-year-old man, who is the owner of the premises, and a 43-year-old female worker were arrested in the raid,” he said, adding that the smuggled cigarettes were meant for the local market.
He said 894.46 million sticks of cigarettes worth RM74.96 million, with unpaid tax amounting to RM661.90 million, were seized nationwide last year.