Customs seizes cigarettes worth over RM500,000 at KLIA

SEPANG: The Customs Department has seized over half a million ringgit worth of contraband cigarettes meant to be smuggled out of the country.

Customs Department assistant director-general Norlela Ismail said last month, its personnel at the Customs Unit III, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), detected 15 attempts to smuggle out contraband cigarettes to a country in the Oceania region.

"In total, we seized 786,000 cigarettes worth RM605,492, including unpaid duties.

"The most recent case was detected on April 15 where we seized 200,000 cigarettes worth RM154,000, including unpaid duties," she told reporters on Tuesday (May 7).

Norlela said checks showed the cigarettes were declared as consoles.

"We scanned the parcels but images were not consistent with the declaration," she said, adding that they found the cigarettes inside after further checks.

She said the cigarettes were smuggled into Malaysia and did not have any tax stamps or health warning labels.

"This is the latest tactic to smuggle cigarettes. We are working hard to stop Malaysia from becoming a hub for cigarette smuggling," she said.

Norlela also said Customs confiscated 823kg of beedi cigarettes worth RM135,552, including unpaid duties, on April 25.

She said checks also showed that the importer and consignee names were fake.

In another case, Norlela said two men in their 30s were arrested at KLIA on April 22 for attempting to smuggle in 85.2kg of chewing tobacco.

"We checked the six bags they brought in and found the chewing tobacco," she said.

Checks revealed that the suspects had entered Malaysia at least five times last month.

She said Customs believed that the suspects would make short trips to Malaysia to bring in the chewing tobacco to a syndicate operating here.

"The suspects were paid at least RM1,000 per trip," she said, adding that the suspects have since been remanded.

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