An Indonesian man found himself on the receiving end of a staggering BND24,900,000 fine and a 13-month-and-two-week jail sentence, along with three whippings for possessing smuggled cigarettes and violating immigration laws.
Sumardi, 40, was convicted of possessing a large cache of smuggled cigarettes and pleaded guilty to several breaches of immigration laws.
Failure to pay the fine would result in an additional three years behind bars for the foreigner.
The defendant earlier denied a charge of possessing approximately 12,024 cartons, 269 packets and 61 sticks of cigarettes found to be smuggled.
Senior Magistrate Hajah Ervy Sufitriana binti Haji Abdul Rahman delivered the verdict.
During the trial, evidence presented by Deputy Public Prosecutor Pengiran Hajah Nor ‘Azmeena binti Pengiran Haji Mohiddin revealed that Customs officers raided Sumardi’s residence at Jalan Panchor Murai Kulapis, Kampong Pengkalan Batu, at 5pm on January 11.
Moreover, investigations by immigration authorities exposed that Sumardi had illegally entered Brunei despite being barred from doing so.
He had reportedly snuck into the country by boat from Limbang through the river and onto the Bangar Jetty in Temburong District. Subsequently, he had managed to reach the residence by hitching a ride in an acquaintance’s car, purportedly to earn a monthly income of BND500 as the housekeeper.
The court, in addition to the hefty fine and imprisonment, ordered the destruction of the seized cigarettes, with the total unpaid duty amounting to over a million dollars.
As the defendant faces the repercussions of his actions, the authorities are making it clear that such violations of both smuggling and immigration laws will not be taken lightly. – Fadley Faisal