THE Customs and Excise Department's cigarette action team has made its biggest seizure since its formation in July - contraband cigarettes worth $2.9 million. Officers arrested nine people aged between 19 and 42 and seized 2.9 million cigarettes in Kwun Tong and Sha Tin after a three-month surveillance of a smuggling syndicate. Senior Superintendent Michael Chik Wah-wai of the prosecution, intelligence and investigation bureau said the haul had a duty potential of $1.6 million. A truckload of British-made cigarettes worth $2 million, stolen from outside a godown on Tsing Yi Island yesterday afternoon, was later recovered by detectives in Fanling and eight men were arrested. The theft occurred while the container lorry driver was handing in an invoice to a godown. As he was making a report to police, officers from the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau who had been keeping a surveillance on a gang followed the stolen container to a vacant ground in Kwan Tei.