| Fadley Faisal |
TWO Malaysian men from Sarikei, Sarawak, were yesterday slapped with hefty fines after they pleaded guilty to having in their possession massive amounts of undeclared cigarettes.
Lau Yang Chang, 25, was fined $400,000. If he fails to settle the fine, he will be imprisoned for 42 months and two weeks. This is the highest fine ever imposed for such a case.
Wong Liee Chiew, 27, meanwhile, was fined $150,000 or 36 months’ jail in default.
Senior Magistrate Haji Nabil Daraina heard from the prosecution that Lau was stopped in his vehicle near Mulaut Abattoir in Jalan Bengkurong by Customs preventive officers who inspected the vehicle.
The authorities found 16 boxes each containing 50 cartons of cigarettes, and another 70 cartons of undeclared cigarettes.
Upon further inspection at Lau’s residence in Jalan Kampong Sungai Tampoi, the authorities found 56 cartons of cigarettes stored in a car. In the house, a bottle of undeclared beer and two bottles of undeclared liquor were found in a wardrobe in a bedroom.
Lau claimed responsibility of the cigarettes and alcoholic drinks.
Lau said he had collected the cigarettes from Kampong Bolkiah using the car and was paid $30 by a man named ‘Ah Hui’.
The court was told that the excise duty to be paid for the cigarettes and alcoholic drinks totalled $67,357.
Meanwhile, Wong, who was fined $150,000 yesterday, claimed responsibility of seven boxes each containing 50 cartons of cigarettes that were found in a vehicle parked at his residence in Jalan Kampong Sungai Tampoi, following a raid by Customs preventive officers.
The court was told that the excise duty to be paid for the cigarettes totalled $19,800.
Wong said he had collected the cigarettes from his friend’s house in Kampong Bolkiah and was paid $50-$80.
Both arrests were made after 4am last Monday (September 29).
Senior Magistrate Haji Nabil ordered all three vehicles involved in the cases be forfeited to the state and all seized cigarettes and alcoholic drinks to be destroyed.