Nine million illicit cigarettes seized by Johor Customs

JOHOR BARU: The Johor Customs Department has seized more than nine million sticks of contraband cigarettes worth above RM10mil found inside a 12.2m (40ft) container from China at the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP).

Its director Sazali Mohamad said his men seized the container at the Customs inspection bay inside PTP at around 11.20am on Sept 22.

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“The container was from China and transited through PTP before heading to its final destination, Kota Kinabalu Port, which was declared in its manifest.

“Checks on its manifest found (declarations for) various goods such as garden tools, banners, faucets, lighting, computer accessories, tools, electric grills, bakery equipment and baby carriages. We directed (the scanner to be put) through our scanning device.

“However, the scan result showed images that led us to believe the contents and items listed in its manifest are not the same,” he told a press conference at Johor Customs headquarters here on Sunday (Oct 2).

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Sazali added that further inspection of the container, conducted with two representatives from the shipping company, found it actually contained 9.1 million sticks of illicit cigarettes, which were believed not to have cleared Customs after being brought in from overseas.

He said the estimated value of the seized cigarettes was RM3.6mil while the unpaid duty and tax was put at RM6.4mil, bringing the total amount of the goods seized to more than RM10mil.

“The modus operandi of this smuggling syndicate is to make a false declaration through the manifest when the import is made and make PTP as a transhipment location before being sent to another location, hoping to go unnoticed by Malaysian authorities,” he added.

Sazali said the case was being investigated under Regulation 18 of the Free Zone (Amendment) Regulations 2019 and Section 135(1)(a) of the Customs Act 1967.

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