Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian customs and excise officials in Banten Province seized 1.7 million illegal cigarettes aboard two trucks from East Java Province during their raids at the Jakarta-Merak toll road area on Sept 21 and Sept 23.

The seized illegal cigarettes that would have potentially caused Rp818.6 million of material losses to the state were transported aboard the trucks heading to Lampung Province from Malang, East Java, Head of the Customs and Excise-Banten Office Aflah Farobi revealed on Saturday.

One of the trucks was found to carry 746 thousand cigarettes not bearing the excise tax ribbons when stopping at the toll road's rest area KM 13.5 in the Karang Tengah neighborhood of Tangerang District, Banten Province, on Monday, he noted.

Two days later, another truck carrying 984 thousand illegal cigarettes was again intercepted when it was stopping at the Jakarta-Merak toll road's rest area facility KM 42.5 in Balaraja area, Tangerang District.

The local customs and excise officials confiscated packs of cigarettes that were also not labelled with excise tax ribbons from the truck reportedly heading to Kuala Tungkal in Tanjung Jabung Barat District, Jambi Province, Farobi stated.

Those illegal cigarettes were intended to be transported to Batam Island, Riau Islands Province, he revealed, adding that the truck drivers were interrogated during investigation by collaborating with those from the Customs and Excise-East Java Office.

The suspects are charged under Articles 54 and/or 56 of Indonesian Excise Law No. 39 of 2007. If found guilty, they will face a jail term of between one and five years.

The suspects found guilty are also demanded to pay a fine of between at least two and 10 times of the total value of the excise tax ribbons.

The Indonesian government has been striving to combat the illegal trade of cigarettes that have caused the state to potentially suffer material losses over the past years.

On Oct 8, 2018, for instance, the customs and excise officials in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan Province, destroyed several million illegal cigarettes confiscated during a series of operations.

During that time, the local customs and excise officials set ablaze 7,927,540 illegal cigarettes.
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Translator: Satyagraha, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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