Customs deputy director Datuk Matrang. Pix Abu Bakar.

Customs deputy director-general Datuk Matrang Suhaili. Pix Abu Bakar.

Bintulu is one of the hotspots for contraband items including cigarettes in Sarawak according to the Customs Department.

In five raids conducted in the town this year, two had been arrested and the department seized 15,288 sticks of cigarettes with unpaid taxes valued at RM8,114.

“Ops Pacak is a targeted operation that will concentrate on ‘hot spots’ identified with high illegal cigarette activities,” Customs deputy director-general Datuk Matrang Suhaili said at the launching of the operation at Bintulu Esplanade on Friday.

The department said they will continue raiding hotspot in Bintulu beside put up surveillance and walkabouts at retail outlets around the town for a month.

Sarawak Customs Department confiscated cigarettes with unpaid taxes worth RM5,381,518.58 since January this year.

Government losing more than a billion each year in revenue as contraband cigarettes make up  35% of the cigarettes on sale in the country.

“We have identified Selangor, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak as the states with the most number of illicit cigarette dealers,” Customs director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad said.