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MELAKA, April 19 -- Police arrested nine men and a woman on suspicion of being involved in a cigarette and liquor smuggling syndicate under Op Kontraban (Operation Contraband) that was carried out from April 13 until yesterday.
Melaka Police chief Datuk Abdul Majid Mohd Ali said all the suspects, aged between 22 and 62, were detained in nine separate raids around the Melaka Tengah and Alor Gajah districts.
He said the operation, conducted by the Melaka Criminal Investigation Department and the 6th Battalion of the General Operations Force (PGA), also seized 928,050 sticks of white and kretek cigarettes as well as 45 bottles of liquor of various brands without tax with an estimated current market value of RM685,000.
“During the inspection, the cigarettes and liquor were found kept in houses and stores as well as cars before being sold to selected sundry shops and supermarkets.
“All the suspects are believed to have supplied the Melaka market for the past one year,” he told a press conference at the Melaka Police Contingent Headquarters in Ayer Keroh today.
Abdul Majid said police also seized two Proton Exora, one Honda Accord and one Honda City, which were believed to have been used to deliver the supplies, adding that all five suspects also had criminal and drug records.
“They have been remanded until April 27 to assist in the investigation, which is being carried out under Section 135 (1) (d) of the Customs Act 1967 for possessing contraband cigarettes,” he said.
Meanwhile, Abdul Majid said police had carried out surveillance of the Ramadan bazaar at several locations and found that there was a need to increase the compliance of the standard operating procedure (SOP).
“We found that there were some who did not adopt physical distancing, some still brought their children along to the bazaar while some organisers did not properly manage the entrances and exits, resulting in visitors not registering their particulars and taking their temperature readings.
“We have met the local authorities to recommend several measures that can be taken to improve SOP compliance among visitors,” he said.