Royal Malaysian Customs, Sabah, Malaysia. Photo: Google Maps

A 36-year-old Filipino man was arrested last month for allegedly storing duty-unpaid cigarettes in a warehouse in Sabah, according to information given out at a media meeting by the Malaysian customs on Friday.

After a week of surveillance of what appeared to be an ordinary wooden house by the intelligence unit, officers of the enforcement unit of Sabah customs raided what turned out to be a warehouse full of cigarettes in Semporna on January 1. As well as intercepting the Filipino suspect, officers seized a quantity of Indonesian duty-unpaid cigarettes, the China Press reported.

Customs officers estimated that the duty avoided on cigarettes seized at about 786,000 ringgit (US$192,850), and the suspect admitted to the officers that the untaxed items belong to him, said Madrim Tasan, assistant director-general from the Sabah Royal Malaysian Customs.

As of early January, the Sabah customs department had busted 45 cases involving attempts to smuggle cigarettes and 12 other cases of liquor smuggling, resulting in arrests of 32 suspects.

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