Man fined BND1.8M for cigarette smuggling

Hakim Hayat

An unemployed local man was slapped with a BND1,800,000 fine or ordered to undergo three years imprisonment in default of payment by the Magistrate’s Court yesterday after he pleaded guilty to the charge of being in possession of 2,192 cartons of smuggled cigarettes, which he claimed was a delivery order he made for a wage of BND150.

Abdullah bin Haji Garip, 42, was caught red-handed after the haul was found inside his car during a police check.

Court documents stated that at about 3.50am yesterday, police from the Kampong Bebuloh Police Post tried to stop the suspicious looking vehicle the defendant was driving, but in an attempt to evade them, he reversed the car and it fell into a ditch by the road.

The defendant was detained and inspections on his car uncovered the contra-band items.

The defendant was later brought to the Limau Manis Police Station for further questioning before his case was handed over to the Royal Customs and Excise Department.

The defendant during questioning claimed that he was offered to deliver the cigarettes to someone called ‘Berry’ for a BND150 wage.

The Customs Prosecutor informed the court presided over by Magistrate Kamaliah Fadhilah binti Haji Ibrahim that the excise duty for the cigarettes amounted to BND219,200 and made an application for all the seized items to be handed over to the government to be destroyed.

The Magistrate also ordered immediate incarceration for the defendant upon failure to settle the fine.