Police headquarters in Kuala Selangor, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps
Police headquarters in Kuala Selangor, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps

A crew of 10 Indonesian men including the vessel’s captain were arrested in waters off Kuala Selangor by Malaysian authorities on Friday evening for attempting to smuggle 12.9 million ringgit (US$3.09 million) worth of cigarettes and wine into the country.

At about 5 pm on December 14, officers from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) received a report of a suspicious vessel lingering in waters near Tanjung Karang, the Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia) reported.

After officials intercepted the vessel, the captain and his nine crew members, all Indonesian, aged 22 to 53, were put under arrest. The Singapore-registered 34-meter vessel was found to contain 2,600 cartons of cigarettes and 60 different brands of wine, all of which were seized in the operation.

Preliminary investigations suggested that all the cigarettes and liquor were due to be transferred to local smugglers’ boats under a barter system. They would then be distributed for use over the Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year celebrations.

The suspects, along with the seized items, were brought to Pulau Indah Jetty for further investigation under Section 135 (1) of the Customs Act 1967.