JOHOR BARU: The Customs Department foiled an attempt to smuggle 4,450 cartons of cigarettes worth more than RM600,000 at the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (BSI CIQ) here.
Johor Customs director Datuk Mohammad Hamiddan Maryani said that an inspection was carried out on a car and a van last Wednesday (Sept 11) at about 4.30am, based on the information from the Putrajaya Customs Department.
Mohammad Hamiddan added that the two vehicles, which were Malaysian-registered, were travelling from Singapore heading towards Johor Baru.
Upon inspection, Customs found the contraband cigarettes hidden at the bottom of passenger seats that had been cut in half.
"Only the upper half of the seat was visible and the lower bottom was covered with black cloth to hide the boxes.
"Upon inspection, we found 89 brown boxes containing 4,450 cartons of cigarettes valued at RM665,720, including taxes," he said at a press conference at the State Customs Department Headquarters, here on Tuesday (Sept 17).
Of the 89 boxes, 70 boxes contained the U2 Full Flavour brand, while 19 boxes were of the Canyon brand.
He added that both vehicle drivers, aged 30 and 46, were later arrested and the items confiscated.
"Investigations are still ongoing to find out if there is any syndicate that is involved," he said adding that the cigarettes are believed to have originated from Vietnam and China.
Mohammad Hamiddan also said that the driver of the car acted as a tonto, while the van driver was the transporter.
"The van driver also used a fake plate number and has been charged in court on Tuesday," he added.
He said the case was being investigated under Section 135(1)(e) of the Customs Act 1967, which carries a fine of up to 20 times the value of the contraband or up to three years' jail, or both.
Did you find this article insightful?