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More than RM6 million worth of fireworks and firecrackers seized this year

KUANTAN, 5 Sept 2008: The Royal Customs have hauled in more than 158,000 kg of fireworks and firecrackers, valued at RM6.135 million, in the country this year.

Its director-general, Datuk Seri Abd Rahman Abd Hamid, said that until yesterday a total of 100 cases had been recorded and 49 people were arrested for smuggling the contraband.

"Tax not paid on the seized items amounted to RM3.969 million," he told reporters at the re-naming of the Dewan Makmur Sultan Ahmad Shah at the Customs’ quarters here to Dewan Makmur Ar-Rahman Sultan Ahmad Shah last night.

He said one of the seizures was made on 28 Aug 2008 at Bandar Jengka, Maran, involving 311 kg of fireworks and firecrackers. A man was arrested to facilitate investigation into the case.

Abd Rahman said a total of 199 cases were recorded last year with 93 people arrested and 215,786 kg fireworks and firecrackers seized.

He said the department had uncovered a new tactic by syndicates involved in the distribution of the contraband. They made contacts with their customers through the short messaging service to avoid detection by the authorities, he added.

Abd Rahman said only a certain types of firecrackers and firework are allowed to be brought into the country and that traders would have to obtain a police permit to sell them.

In another development, he said the department had collected RM19.09 billion in revenue until 31 Aug 2008, an increase of 22.2% from RM15.07 billion during the corresponding period last year.

Meanwhile in KUALA LUMPUR, Customs Senior Assistant Director Hamzah Ahmad advised restaurant operators who failed to meet the sales threshold of RM3 million and whose licences had been revoked to cease charging their customers the five percent service tax.

He said action would be taken against those who failed to do so and that operations would be conducted to ensure the affected restaurants, whose licences had been revoked since 28 Aug, no longer charged their customers the service tax. – Bernama

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