Thursday, January 17, 2008


Bid to smuggle cooking oil to Philippines foiled

The Customs Department here thwarted an attempt by three local men to smuggle more than 15,000 kilogrammes of subsidized cooking oil worth RM3O,000 to the Philippines via a ferry at the seaport here on Tuesday. Deputy State Customs Director Abdullah Zawawi said the trio aged between 30 and 60, were nabbed by Customs officers from the preventive branch following the seizure of 911 cartons each containing 17 packets of one kilogramme of cooking oil that were kept in fertilizer sacks. Preliminary investigations revealed the three men did not have a license from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to export the cooking oil.
Alert Customs officers intercepted the ferry transporting the 282 sacks of cooking oil, Abdullah told reporters after attending a meeting with his officers at the Wisma Kastam here yesterday. “Investigations revealed that the cooking oil was to be brought to Zamboanga in southern Philippines,” he said. It is learnt that those arrested included the ferry captain, a delivery agent and a worker on the ferry. Abdullah said the department would step up checks at ports in the State, especially to prevent smuggling of , cooking oil to neighboing countries. “This is necessary in view of the high demand for Malaysian cooking oil because of its high quality and cheaper price,” he added. Present at the press conference was Sandakan Customs chief Hajah Norizam Zakaria. Meanwhile, Bernama reported that the Kedah Anti-Smuggling Unit (UPP) thwarted an attempt to smuggle 114kg of cooking oil, 2,730 pornographic DVDs and 1,550 pirated VCDs, all worth RM35,000, to Thailand in an operation on Tuesday night. Its commander, Mohd Noor Idris, said the items were seized when a Malaysian- registered lorry, which was heading to Thailand, was stopped at about 6.3Opm. “Following a search, the UPP team found 114 packets of cooking oil, each weighing 1kg, as well as the DVDs and VCDs in a box hidden behind the lorry driver’s seat,” he told reporters in Bukit Kayu Hitam on Tuesday night. The lorry driver, 49, from Bukit Mertajam, had been detained for investigations, he added. He said that during the operation at Km 1.3 of the North-South Expressway at Bukit Kayu Hitam-Changlun, the team also seized 88kg of cooking oil in several bottles from four Thai vehicles. Mohd Noor said there was high demand from the Thais to buy cooking oil from Malaysia due to the high price of the commodity in their country, at about RM3.50 per kg, while the DVDs and VCDs were to be distributed to pubs and nightclubs in Thailand. He said the Thai citizens who were arrested, in their 30s and 40s, would be issued compounds for attempting to smuggle controlled items.