Singapore-registered car with cartons of cigarettes catches fire at Malaysia customs

A Singapore-registered car caught fire at the exit lane of the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at Sultan Iskandar Building on July 12, 2016.
A Singapore-registered car caught fire at the exit lane of the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at Sultan Iskandar Building on July 12, 2016. PHOTO: COURTESY OF JOHOR POLICE

JOHOR BARU - A Singapore-registered car with cartons of cigarettes in its engine compartment caught fire at the exit lane of the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex at Sultan Iskandar Building on Tuesday night (July 12), it was reported.

The driver, a 24-year-old Singaporean man, was unhurt, the New Straits Times said on Wednesday.

"The fire, which started from the engine, was put out in three minutes. The entire car and its engine were damaged. Initial investigations revealed no criminal elements," Johor Baru Selatan district police chief Assistant Commissioner Sulaiman Salleh was quoted as saying.

But he said officers found 15 cartons of cigarettes in the car's engine compartment. They believe that it could have been an attempt to smuggle contraband cigarettes into the Republic, according to the report.

"The car did not manage to go through Customs checks yet," the district police chief said, adding that this was the first time a car had caught fire at the CIQ while undergoing immigration checks.

The driver was not arrested, according to the report. It is understood that an offence had yet to be committed as the items had not crossed the border, it said.

The Johor Customs Department was quoted as saying that the case is now with the police.