BUTTERWORTH: The Penang Customs Department seized 10.2 million sticks of smuggled cigarettes with a total value of RM7.4 million, including unpaid duty, during a raid in Port Klang, Selangor on Aug 1.

Penang Customs director Datuk Abdul Halim Ramli said acting on information from the public and surveillance carried out by the Customs Special Investigation Unit and the Penang Customs Enforcement unit, a container was seized in Port Klang at 1.10pm on Aug 1.

“The container was later taken to the Penang Enforcement division for further investigations. After carrying a detailed Inspection of the container, 10.2 million of ‘duty not paid’ cigarette sticks were found.

“Unpaid duty for the cigarettes worth RM816,800 is RM6.542 million. The total value is therefore RM7.4 million,“ said Abdul Halim when met by reporters at the Customs Enforcement Store in Bagan Jermal, here today.

Initial investigations revealed that the entry of the container was handled by a shipping company with a branch in Port Klang and based in Kuala Lumpur.

Abdul Halim said based on the documents obtained, the cigarettes were brought in from a country in central Asia. Investigations are being carried out to determine the suspects involved in the attempted smuggling.

The modus operandi of the company is to declare the goods in the container as canned mushrooms. A check at the Registrar of Companies revealed that the company’s nature of business and business address were false.

“There have been no arrests yet because the documents were only from the shipping agent. However, we are confident of detaining suspects involved in smuggling the cigarettes,“ he said adding that the case would be investigated under Section 135(1)(e) and Section 135(1)(g) of the Customs Act 1967 and Section 74(1) (e) of the Excise Act 1976. - Bernama

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