PETALING JAYA: The Customs Department has crippled attempts to smuggle in tobacco products, contraband alcohol and Zam Zam water, says Federal Territory Customs Department assistant director-general Mohammad Sabri Saad.
On the seizure of the Zam Zam water, he said investigations revealed that the shipment was labelled as “personal belongings” and was meant to be sold online via ecommerce sites.
“On June 21, an operations team successfully prevented the smuggling of ‘mineral water’ after stopping a container at Westport, Port Klang.
“The seizure value has been estimated to be around RM601,260, with taxes amounting to RM180,380. A total of 27,000 litres were confiscated,” he told a press conference at the department headquarters here yesterday.
He said the importation of Zam Zam water was not allowed.
In another case, 18 suspects were arrested during a special operation between July 18 and 27.
“The operation focused on breaking the supply chain of illegal cigarettes and alcohol. A total of RM152,000 worth of items were seized.
“The arrests and raids were conducted within the Klang Valley area and were targeted at the supply, selling and storing of these goods. It is believed that the items were smuggled via sea and land routes,” he added.
In a separate case, Mohammad Sabri said the department seized 667kg of chewing tobacco worth RM42,000 after officers discovered the items hidden behind slippers and food items in two containers on June 8.
Shipping documents had declared the items as “household items” to fool the authorities.
Mohammad Sabri said raids carried out by the Customs Department between January and June this year have led to seizures of items worth over RM100mil. He added that 866 raids were conducted while unpaid taxes linked to the seized items came to RM67,401,517.
Separately, Mohammad Sabri said the department was hoping for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) to smoothen the probe process of firms named in shipping documents linked to the smuggling of contraband.
“In a Bill Of Lading, the name of the importer will be listed – a Malaysian company – and most are sole owners. The issue is that the business is valid and registered when we investigate with the SSM. But when we go to the supposed address stated, the company does not exist.
“The building exists, but the business does not,” he said, adding that the Customs Department hoped to collaborate with the SSM to prevent such problems.