JOHOR BARU, April 22 — Police arrested a lorry driver as he was trying to flee from Customs Department officers who fired several shots at him after he rammed their vehicle in Iskandar Puteri here yesterday.
It is understood that a Customs enforcement team in a department pick-up truck had pursued the driver suspected of transporting untaxed alcoholic beverages estimated to be worth RM1.8 million.
Johor police chief Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat said the 40-year-old man was arrested at Jalan Tuas-Lima Kedai in Iskandar Puteri yesterday after police received a distress call from Customs Department officers at 1.12pm seeking assistance to stop the lorry.
He said three police patrol cars were dispatched to the scene where the driver attempted to flee before he was stopped and detained.
“The incident started from Jalan Danga Bay and ensued for 20 kilometres distance that took about an hour.
“Before the suspect was arrested, the lorry had rear-ended one of the police patrol cars, causing damage.
“However, there were no injuries reported on the authorities as well as the suspect,” said Kamarul Zaman in a statement issued here today.
Earlier, the incident was posted as an 82-second video on Facebook that showed the Customs vehicle pursuing the lorry that stopped suddenly and reversed into the enforcement team’s pick-up.
An enforcement officer, at the front passenger side, was seen firing several shots at the lorry in his bid to stop the fleeing vehicle.
Meanwhile, Kamarul Zaman said the lorry driver is in police custody and has been remanded for 10 days until May 1.
“Police are working with the Customs Department to ensure that the remaining members of the smuggling syndicate, including several tonto (smugglers’ lookout teams) groups involved, are caught as they have threatened the safety of law enforcement officers,” he said.
Kamarul Zaman said the case is being investigated under Section 135 (1) (e) of the Customs Act 1967; Section 42 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987 and Section 39D of the Firearms Act 1960.
The Customs Department is scheduled to hold a press conference by its director-general Datuk Seri Abdul Latif Abdul Kadir on the incident tomorrow morning.
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