The Johor Customs Department raided a warehouse in Kulai on July 23 and seized smuggled cigarettes worth a whopping RM9.45 million including unpaid tax, the biggest seizure by the state customs this year.
Johor customs director Sazali Mohamad said the raid, carried out by the Johor Bahru Enforcement Unit at 2.30pm, found eight million sticks of contraband cigarettes comprising regular white sticks and clove cigarettes, hidden in boxes covered with canvas.
Sazali said the cigarettes were believed to have been smuggled in from Indonesia via the sea route.
"These cigarettes were meant for the local market and are believed to have been smuggled in via the sea route because some boxes were wet due to seawater contamination," he told reporters in Johor Bahru today.
Sazali said the seized cigarettes alone were worth RM3.8 million.
The case will be investigated under Section 135 (1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967.
Meanwhile, in a separate case on July 22, the Sungai Pulai enforcement division of the Johor customs confiscated 3,840 cans of beer for which the duty was not paid, in a Toyota Estima Aeras at KM2.7 Jalan Sultan Ismail along the Iskandar coastal highway near Nusajaya.
"The contraband beer was hidden in the rear of the vehicle driven by a 26-year-old local man. The confiscated beverage is estimated to be worth RM10,700, while unpaid duties amounted to RM37,300," Sazali said.
He said when the vehicle was stopped at about 6.45am, the driver failed to show any documents such as invoices, customs forms, or import permits while the vehicle had a false registration number.
"The syndicate’s modus operandi was to use MPVs to transport the contraband liquor, before distributing it to interested parties," he said.
Sazali said the suspect pleaded not guilty after he was charged at the Magistrate's Court on July 27 under Section 74(1)(d) of the Excise Act 1976.