$160,500 in fireworks seized

KOTA KINABALU - Sabah Customs Department officers seized nearly RM400,000 (S$160,500) worth of firecrackers and fireworks recently in a move to curb smuggling, sale and distribution attempts here.

Acting upon information, the Customs enforcement team raided two houses in Kolombong on Aug 3 and seized about RM390,000 worth of firecrackers and fireworks.

They first found RM40,000 worth of the items at 10.30am in one house and detained a 57-year-old man, while another batch valued at RM350,000 was found 21/2 hours later at the other house.

State Customs director Dr Janathan Kandok said the 16,741 packets and pieces of prohibited fireworks and firecrackers -- namely "Crazy Bang", "Shun Lee Hung" and "Bird Eggs" -- were believed to have been smuggled in from neighbouring countries.

"We urge the public to refrain from buying these banned items as they have caused mishaps that cost loss of limbs and worse, lives," he said yesterday.

He added that smugglers would store their supplies in unoccupied premises such as terrace houses and would only retrieve the firecrackers and fireworks after soliciting customers.

Meanwhile, in three separate cases, fireworks and firecrackers valued at RM70,000 were seized and three men aged between 22 and 35 nabbed in Tuaran, Likas and Kinarut recently.

If convicted, they are liable to a fine of a minimum of 10 times and a maximum of 20 times the value of the seized goods, or face jail up to three years, or both under Section 135 of Customs Act 1962.

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