Thursday, July 17, 2008


High fuel prices force smugglers to use land


Even smugglers are feeling the heat over the recent increase in fuel prices. And as an alternative to cheaper cost, most smugglers are opting to transport the contraband goods into the State Capital via road, rather than the traditional route by sea. “Through our observation, the fuel price increase had also forced smugglers to change their modus operandi. The goods are brought in from Labuan, and the journey begins from Menumbok for distribution to many districts in Sabah. “We are however unsure whether these culprits are driving through alternative routes. Our job is to cripple their illegal business, therefore we are urging the public to come forward and provide us with information on these activities,” said Marine Police Operations Officer, ASP Mohd Aris Jambul. He said apart from fuel prices increase, the volume of smuggled goods is limited if transported by sea. Mohd Aris was saying this when he disclosed their seizure of RM8O,000 worth of beers and a van, which was used to transport the goods from Labuan to an outlet at Api-Api Centre, here, yesterday. “Through close observation, we caught the suspect red-handed unkding the goods from the van to the outlet at around 1 1.45am today (yesterday). “Apart from seizing the beer and van, we also arrested a 25-year-old local man, and he will be investigated under Section 135 (1) (d) of the Customs Act,” he said. In the operation, codenamed Ops Octopus, led by himself, Mohd Aris said they seized 336 bottles of 660 milliliter Carlsberg Beer, 240 bottles of 325 milliliter Stout, with market price of RM8 each, and a van worth around RM75,000. He added that the “Duties Not Paid” stickers were also scratched off from the boxes. In within the first six months this year, the Marine Police have made at least 10 arrests and seizures amounting to RM680,000. The biggest seizure was sawn timber in April, while the others include contraband cigarettes and alcoholic drinks. “We believe the first six month seizure this year was more than that recorded during a similar period last year as we have been very active in operations lately,” he said.

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