Some women are seen selling contraband cigarettes in the open. PIC BY MOHD NAZLLIE ZAINUL

SOME members of the public are irked with the selling of contraband cigarettes around Kota Kinabalu here.

The sellers, believed to be non-citizens, will try to approach people while using smoking gesture to signal people to buy their products.

A waiter at nearby restaurant, Zuhaimi Kinjus, 28, said besides women, he is also approached by young men asking him to buy cigarettes.

"They will either be standing or sitting at the corner or back of the street to look for potential buyers.

"It is irritating as they always call us to buy. At one point, I had to raise my voice to tell them off.

"Besides that, I do not agree that they sell those contraband cigarettes to public as the product might be harmful,” he added.

Meanwhile, hotel staff Oswald Lajiun, 42, said the sellers would leave the premises for awhile after they managed to sell to customers, but would come back about 10 minutes later.

It is learned they are selling cigarettes for 20 sen each or RM4 for a box.

Oswald said the cheap price of the tobacco products will encourage public especially schooling children to buy.

"This activity should be curbed as soon as possible to prevent more people from becoming addicted to smoking.

"We are worried if they start smoking at a young age, they will be tempted to try other things such as drugs,” he added.

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Kota Kinabalu Police chief Assistant Commissioner Habibi Majinji said the police has been routinely patrolling several locations, including Kampung Air and Sinsuran areas.

He added police had also arrested those who sell contraband cigarettes.

“We are aware of the selling of contraband cigarettes. It is not a new issue.

“Those tobaccos are not only sold to locals but also those without valid documents.

"Their modus operandi is usually sitting at the corner of streets and wait for customers. Once there is a transaction, the sellers will leave for awhile and return again," he said, when contacted.

Habibi also advised public not to buy contraband cigarettes as it is an offence and punishable.

Meanwhile, Kota Kinabalu City Hall spokesperson Junainah Abbie said the authority will only monitor in the aspect of illegal trading.

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