9th August, 2012
KOTA KINABALU: Offering buyers a wide variety of fireworks and firecrackers through photo albums is the current favourite tactic of illegal dealers to get customers.
Potential customers only have to pick the ones they like and the dealer takes down their orders and delivers them.
Sabah Customs Deputy Director, Hamzah Sundang said that this tactic was used because it it will ‘save’ them from being charged for selling fireworks and firecrackers to the public.
“There are many dealers in Sabah who are already using this method and we believe it has been going on for at least a couple of years.
“This is because by law, it is not wrong for them to carry a photo album containing pictures of fireworks and firecrackers because they do not have the actual goods with them,” he said.
Hamzah disclosed this in a joint press conference with the police, represented by deputy city police chief, Superintendent M. Chandra at the Customs office here, yesterday.
They announced the start of Ops Letus 2, a joint effort by the Customs and the police to curb the sale of fireworks and firecrackers.
Hamzah said: “The Customs will work together with the police to tackle this problem through Ops Letup 2, because even with just the album in hand, the dealers can be brought in for questioning and investigation.
“We hope through this effort, we can trace where the illegal fireworks and firecrackers are stored,” he said.
According to Chandra, through Ops Letup 2, the Customs and the police will form a patrol team to look out for members of the public lighting up firecrackers and fireworks illegally especially during the coming festive season.
“We do not want to have another ugly festive season just like what happened during the last Chinese New Year where the life of a young man was taken because of firecrackers and fireworks.
“It is also our aim to have a festive season this coming Hari Raya that is free of unwanted incidents,” Chandra said adding that the special patrol team of Ops Letup 2 will cover a vast majority of the West Coast.
Meanwhile, Hamzah added that there had been 35 cases of fireworks and firecrackers seized reaching far above half a million ringgit in street value since 1 January 2012 till yesterday.
“So far, we believe that we have caught distributors of the firecrackers and fireworks but we are still targeting the main supplier.
“We believe that there could not be many suppliers in Sabah, possibly only one, so we are working our way to bust the top man and we are already making progress,” he said.