Hot on the tracks of beer and cigarette smugglers

JOHOR BARU: Over RM3mil worth of contraband cigarettes and alcoholic beverages have been seized by the state Customs Department in separate raids.

Johor Customs Department director Misbahudin Parmin said in the latest operation, the department seized some 764,000 sticks of contraband cigarettes in Segamat on Jan 1.

“The cigarettes were hidden under a canvas sheet at a palm oil plantation.

“Our team waited for almost an hour, but no one showed up at the location,” he told reporters at the Johor Customs Department headquarters yesterday.

He added that the cigarettes, believed to be from Indonesia, were worth some RM275,000 with unpaid duties of RM1mil.

On the same day, the department seized alcoholic beverages at a house in Ulu Tiram here.

The items, Misbahudin said, carried a value of RM21,400 with unpaid duties amounting to RM82,000.

“We believe the house was used as a temporary store before the beverages are sold to locals,” he said, adding that a 34-year-old Bangladeshi man was arrested.

On Nov 30 last year, a Customs enforcement team found three containers filled with untaxed beers at Pasir Gudang port.

Misbahudin said the beer, worth RM234,000 with unpaid duties of RM1.49mil, was kept in boxes labelled as carbonated apple juice.

It was believed to have come from China, he added.

Misbahudin said the cases are being investigated under Sections 135(1) and 133(1)(a) of the Customs Act 1976, as well as Section 74(1)(c) of the Excise Act 1976.

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