SEPANG: Smugglers have abandoned maritime routes in favour of airways to transfer their illegal goods.
Central Zone Customs assistant director-general Datuk Zulkurnain Mohamed said over 8.84 million sticks of cigarettes worth RM6.82 million had been seized at KLIA since last month.
"We have managed to intercept several smuggling attempts into our country based on surveillance and intelligence,” Zulkurnain said at a press conference at the KLIA Customs Department Headquarters today.
“On Aug 6, the Customs department detected a shipment of 2.94 million cigarettes. The consignment was falsely declared as spare parts and they came in from Singapore. On Aug 14, Customs detected another consignment containing 1.3 million cigarettes from Vientiane, Laos, that was declared as general cargo.
"On Sept 3, we seized another shipment of 1.3 million cigarettes also from Vientiane, Laos which was also declared as general cargo. On Sept 10, two shipments from Singapore containing 3.3 million cigarettes were seized.”
He said both the shipments came from Singapore and were declared as fabrics and consolidated cargo.
Zulkurnain said the department in July had set up a special team to curb the smuggling of contraband cigarettes and the team also focused on Port Klang to combat smuggling activities.
"We realised syndicates had changed their modus operandi by using airways to bring in contraband goods," he said.
"A detailed investigation will be carried out to identify masterminds behind the smuggling activities.”
The case is being investigated under Section 135 (1) (a) of the Customs Act 1967, which can result in a fine of no less than 10 times and no more than 20 times the value of the goods, or a maximum of three years’ imprisonment, or both, upon conviction
Zulkifli urged the public to help the Customs Department to curb smuggling activities, especially of cigarettes, alcohol, fireworks and drugs.
He said they could provide information by calling 03-78036568 or the Customs toll-free line 1-800-88-8855.