MIRI: The Customs Department has identified Kuching, Miri, Sibu and Bintulu as smuggling hotspots in the state.
Customs deputy director-general Datuk Matrang Suhaili said there is high demand for contraband alcoholic drinks and illicit cigarettes believed to be from countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
He said the department has intensified its operations and surveillance at the hotspots.
Customs has initiated collaboration with its counterparts the police, Immigration, local councils and other enforcement agencies in Sarawak to undertake effective monitoring and enforcement via information exchange and operations, he told the media after launching Ops Pacak here yesterday.
He said several smuggling routes between Limbang, Lawas and Brunei are often used to smuggle contraband cigarettes and liquor, along with illegal landing jetties and other illegal entry points along the states vast border and coastline.
We have increased our efforts to tackle such cases and we hope the locals and the public, including legal cigarette sellers and cigarette companies continue to be the eyes and ears to disseminate information on such activities, he said.
Matrang said enforcement teams seized contraband goods worth RM1.6 million involving unpaid duties of over RM4.2 million in the first four months of this year.
The main items seized were cigarettes, liquor, firecrackers and vehicles.
The cigarettes seized were worth over RM329,000 with unpaid duties of over RM3.1 million, while the contraband liquor was worth over RM148,500 with unpaid duties of nearly RM756,000.
In Miri, the total contraband goods seized were worth over RM72,200 with unpaid duties of over RM122,510.