The Customs Department Monday launched a new approach of inspecting business premises to check the distribution and sale of untaxed cigarettes in the Klang Valley.

File photo of Johor Customs director Mohd Subre Ishak (second from left) showing the contraband cigarettes that were seized recently.

File photo of Johor Customs director Mohd Subre Ishak (second from left) showing the contraband cigarettes that were seized recently.

Customs Investigations Director Datuk Zainul Abidin Taib said Monday, the approach could trace traders of untaxed cigarettes and it differed from the approach of checking lorries transporting cigarette consignments.

“Under the new approach, we can detain the seller as well as stop the distribution of the illegal cigarettes to traders,” he told a news conference at his office, here.

He said that in the maiden operation codenamed “Ops Cengkih” (Operation Clove), which began today, five traders were detained in the Chow Kit area of Kuala Lumpur for further investigation.

The operation, which began at 11.30am, was conducted by 36 personnel and officers from the Putrajaya Customs and the states and resulted in the seizure of 47,000 “kretek” (clove) cigarettes of various brands valued at about RM19,000.

“We conducted checks at 11 business premises in the Chow Kit area. This was the first location of our focus because it is a hot area for the sale of smuggled clove cigarettes,” he said.

Zainul Abidin said if this operation helped to check the distribution of illegal cigarettes, similar operations would be conducted in the states.

In today’s operation, a retailer in Jalan Raja Alang was held for hiding about 30 cartons of various brands of illegal cigarettes in a store at his premises, he said.

Some of the cigarettes were also kept in an unused refrigerator to avoid detection by the raiding Customs officers, he added.

— BERNAMA