JOHOR BARU: Police thwarted an attempt to smuggle 727 tyres worth about RM697,000 via the Bangunan Sultan Iskandar Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex, here.
Johor police chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the Marine Police Region 2 arrested a 56-year-old local man and seized the tyres at the Kempas Toll at around 5.35pm on Oct 28.
“The police were monitoring the entry and exit points of the CIQ at about 1pm that day. They later followed a lorry that appeared suspicious.
“The tyres were later found in the vehicle and were believed to have been smuggled in from Singapore. We believe that the syndicate operates by declaring that it does not carry any goods when passing through the CIQ.
“We are working with the Customs Department to investigate how such an incident could have happened,” he said at a press conference at the Marine Police Region 2 headquarters here yesterday.
He added that following the first arrest, another suspect was nabbed the following day by the Johor Baru North D9 Special Investigation branch in Taman Sri Skudai.
“We believe that the second suspect, a 28-year-old, is the person in charge of bringing untaxed tyres from Singapore to Malaysia,” he said.
He said the lorry driver was remanded for seven days from Oct 29 to Nov 4, while the second suspect was remanded for two days from Oct 30 to Oct 31. The case is being investigated under Section 135 (1) (d) of the Customs Act 1967.
Asked if there is a possibility of insiders from the CIQ being involved in the syndicate, Comm Ayob responded by saying that the matter is still under investigation.
“There is a lane dedicated for lorries not carrying a load. An access card is required for them to pass through the lane.
“So, we need to know where the flaws are.
“This time, we were able to stop the smuggling of tyres, but there are other contraband, such as cigarettes, alcohol and drugs,that might also be smuggled in the same manner.
“We are more worried about that,” he said, adding that the syndicate is believed to have been active for over six months.
He noted that the Marine Police Region 2 have seized some RM82mil worth of contraband items in the first 10 months of this year, of which RM81mil alone came from cigarettes.
“Syndicates involved in smuggling the goods regularly change their tactics to avoid getting caught by the authorities. We will continue conducting integrated operations with other departments, including the Customs department, to curb the problem.
“We also urge the public to share information with us regarding smuggling activities,” he said.