Attempts by smugglers to pass off items as soya beans, green peas foiled

KOTA KINABALU: Smugglers have been foiled in their attempts to sneak illicit alcohol and fragrant rice worth more than RM370,000 into the state by declaring the containers carrying the items as consignments of soya beans and green peas.

The ruse failed to fool the Sabah Customs Department, which managed to detect three containers bringing the contraband drinks and rice in separate cases at the Sepanggar port near here on Wednesday (Feb 22).

“The smugglers’ modus operandi in both cases were to falsely declare their imported consignments as containing items such as soya beans and green peas,” said Sabah Customs assistant director-general Mohd Nasir Deraman

He said at a press conference at the Sepanggar port on Friday (Feb 24) that in the first instance, his men stopped a container that just came in following a scan at 9.15am.

Following a check, he said, they found some 23,520 litres of illicit beer inside the container, with unpaid duty of more than RM300,000.

Mohd Nasir (centre) and his officers showing the items seized from one of the containers.Mohd Nasir (centre) and his officers showing the items seized from one of the containers.

“In the second case at 9.30am the same day, our team stopped two containers after another scan, under suspicion that they contained undeclared rice,” he said, there were some 41,000kg of rice in the containers.

Mohd Nasir added the smugglers aimed to use the port to sneak the rice into the rest of the country.

Towards this end, he urged the public to help the department in the war against smuggling particularly involving illicit cigarettes, alcohol, fireworks, drugs and vehicles, among others.

“Smuggling will not only inflict a loss to the country’s income but could also pose a national security threat.

“Those with information about smuggling activities are advised to contact the toll-free Customs 1-800-88-8855 number or they may choose to visit the nearest department offices in their areas,” he said.

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