KLANG: Three containers with over 30.1 million contraband cigarettes have been seized at North Port here.
The Customs Department discovered the RM12.04mil consignment which was declared as hubble plates and machine stents to dupe the authorities.
Customs Department deputy director-general Datuk Johari Alifiah said the June 25 seizure was made possible following three months of careful intelligence gathering and investigations by their Internal Investigations Unit.
"Initial checks on the three 40-foot containers led to the discovery of various brands of cigarettes.
"We analysed the Customs Form 1 (Import) and it showed that the containers were supposed to have been carrying hubble plates and mechanical stents," he told reporters Thursday (July 2).
He said the cigarettes seized involved over RM21.07mil in unpaid duties.
"We believe the contraband was smuggled via a ship from China.
"We also arrested three men, including a Customs agent aged between 27 and 36, who were believed to have declared the items in the containers," he said.
He added that the syndicate's modus operandi was to make false declarations before the items arrived at the port to avoid detection.
He also said the Customs form that was declared also used a licensed manufacturer warehouse permit as well as information on non-critical trade items to confuse evaluators.
Johari said they were now tracking the whereabouts of several others believed to be involved in the case.
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