Customs foils bid to smuggle 22 million illicit smokes through Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Customs Department has seized more than 22 million contraband cigarettes found in two containers from Cambodia at the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP).

Customs deputy director-general (enforcement/compliance) Datuk Sazali Mohamad said the first container was seized at a Customs inspection bay in PTP at around 1.45pm on March 26.

“Inspection of the container found 924 master cases containing more than 11 million sticks of illicit cigarettes and 36 boxes of plastic toys for children.

“Following intelligence gathered, the department seized a second container at 10.50am on April 4 at (the same location),” he told a press conference at Menara Kastam Johor here on Sunday (April 21).

Sazali said checks of the second container found 915 master cases, containing over 10 million cigarettes, and 33 boxes of plastic toys.

He said initial investigations showed that the same syndicate was involved in both smuggling attempts, using the toys as cover for the contraband.

“The illicit cigarettes were not declared in the Customs forms. Only the plastic toys were declared through Customs Form 6 in the transshipment manifest and bill of lading.

“The two containers from Cambodia were heading to Mexico (when they were) seized here,” he said.

The estimated value of the cigarettes is RM3.6mil while the unpaid duty is RM14.9mil, he added.

Sazali said the case was being investigated under Section 133(1)(a) of the Customs Act 1967 and efforts to track down the business owner involved were ongoing.

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