KANCHANABURI: Authorities seized contraband cigarettes and tobacco worth more than 800,000 baht smuggled through the Three Pagodas Pass border crossing in Sangkhla Buri district on Sunday evening.
Provincial excise officials, soldiers, police, defence volunteers and local officials intercepted a pickup truck on its way from the border pass at a checkpoint on Highway No.323 linking Sankhla Buri-Three Pagodas Pass on the Thai-Myanmar border.
They stopped the driver, Sompet Pitakchanitchai, a 36-year-old native of Kanchanaburi's Thong Pha Phum district.
A search turned up 50 cartons of foreign brand cigarettes, 99,200 packets of Myanmar-grown tobacco and 720 tins of chewing tobacco from Myanmar. The total value was estimated at 815,100 baht, authorities said.
Mr Sompet told authorities a friend hired him for 1,000 baht to pick up the goods from a Myanmar man at the Three Pagodas Pass and transport them to Ratchaburi.
He was taken to Sangkhla Buri police station, where he was charged with possession of untaxed goods.
Pongsak Tengwiwattanapanich, an chief excise official at Sangkhla Buri said that the seizure followed a tip-off that contraband cigarettes would be smuggled in from a neighbouring country.
The investigation is being expanded.
In Trang province, police and soldiers acting on a tip-off seized 290 cartons of contraband foreign cigarettes, each containing 10 packs, at a rest area on Trang-Palian road near the Peninsular Botanical Garden (Thung Khai) in Yan Ta Khao district on Sunday evening.
Two men fled into a rubber plantation as the team arrived, leaving behind 10 fertiliser sacks containing the contraband.
Police said the cigarettes were smuggled in from a neighbouring country and were destined for retail shops and entertainment venues in Trang.