SEPANG: The Customs Department has proposed to the government to amend the Customs Act 1967 to impose caning and a minimum fine of RM100,000 on those who sell smuggled cigarettes and liquor.
Customs director-general Datuk Seri T. Subromaniam said the heavier penalties would curb sales of the contraband items.
“With the amendment of the Act, those who sell smuggled cigarettes will be fined a minimum of RM100,000 and face whipping, instead of only a fine of between 10 and 20 times the value of the items.
“Previously, the syndicates usually paid the fine.
“We are confident that the outlets selling smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes and liquor in the country can be controlled through these punitive measures,” Bernama reported him as saying at a press conference here yesterday.
Meanwhile, Subromaniam said the department had conducted 1,063 raids on premises to identify distributors and manufacturers of counterfeit liquor nationwide since Sept 21.
He said the operation, which saw 17,374 litres of liquor confiscated, was to restrict the supply of contaminated liquor in the market.
“This involves an estimated value of RM40,571 and total tax of RM168,375.
“In this special operation, 129 people have been detained for further investigations under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967 and Section 20(1) of the Excise Act 1976.”
Subromaniam also said the department busted another counterfeit liquor processing syndicate during a raid on a factory in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, on Sept 28.
The officers found bottles, stickers, as well as bottling and processing equipment.
“We detained a 60-year-old man involved in the processing of the counterfeit liquor.
“The modus operandi of the syndicate is to process various brands of counterfeit liquor for the domestic market in residential areas to evade the authorities.
“The counterfeit liquor is then sold to foreigners at much cheaper prices compared to the market,” he said.
Concerns over the sale of illicit alcohol arose after 40 people, most of them foreigners, died of methanol poisoning last month.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry, through the Food Quality and Safety Division, has also inspected 1,581 premises that sold alcoholic drinks.
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