KUCHING: Marine Police (PPM) has identified over 20 smuggling hotspots in Sarawak used to bring in contraband cigarettes illegally and store them.
Bukit Aman marine police force commander Senior Assistant Commissioner Mohd Yusoff Mamat said the ‘hotspots’ were identified in Kuching, Sibu, Miri and Bintulu.
"Our personnel will intensify their efforts and conduct raids on the identified locations in the fight against smuggling activities.
"Besides, based on the information we gathered, the storage warehouse premises are mostly situated near harbour areas," he said.
He was speaking to reporters after witnessing the handing over duty from acting Commander of Region Five PPM Superintendent Ab Rahman Mat Hassan to the newly appointed Commander Assistant Commissioner Shamsol Kassim.
Yusoff said Sarawak has a big and lucrative market for contraband cigarettes of various brands.
"These cigarettes are mainly from counties such as Vietnam, China, Thailand and Indonesia.
“We are also not ruling out the possibility that the smuggling was done using a local fishing boat, after transfer of the contraband took place in the middle of high seas," he said.
Apart from cigarettes, he said the marine police would continue their fight against the smuggling of liquor and firearms as well as other threats.
PPM has successfully recorded 3,291 cases of seizures of RM115 million from Janury to July.