JOHOR BARU, Sept 17 — The Johor Customs Department has foiled an attempt to smuggle contraband cigarettes of various brands, estimated to be worth RM665,720 including tax, during a raid at the Sultan Iskandar Building’s Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex here recently.
Its director Datuk Mohammad Hamidan Maryani said today the raid was conducted at 4.30am on September 11 by the Johor Customs Enforcement Division following information from the department’s headquarters in Putrajaya.
He said all the seized items were smuggled inside a van and car from a neighbouring country for the local market.
“In addition to the seizure, the raiding team also detained two men, aged 30 and 46, to assist in investigations,” said Mohammad Hamidan during a media conference held at the department’s state headquarters at Menara Kastam Johor here.
Initial investigations revealed that 890,000 sticks from 89 boxes, consisting of U2 Full Flavour and Canyon brands, were hidden in both vehicles using a black cloth to avoid detection.
It was learnt that the contraband cigarettes were from Singapore and was meant for local consumption in Malaysia.
Mohammad Hamidan said preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect’s activities were recent.
“We are also investigating to check if the suspects are linked to a syndicate specialising in smuggling contraband cigarettes,” he said.
Mohammad Hamidan said the Johor Customs Department are investigating the case under Section 135(1)(e) of the Customs Act 1967 for conveying prohibited goods.
Under Section 135 of the Act, the first offence is punishable with a fine of at least 10 times, or RM100,000, and a maximum of 20 times of the tax value, whichever is higher, as well as a minimum six-month and maximum five-year jail sentence.
For the second offence, the fine is a minimum of 20 times of the tax value, or RM200,000, and a maximum 40 times of the tax value, or RM1,000,000, as well as a jail sentence between six months and five years.
The 46-year-old suspect has been remanded until September 20, with the 30-year-old being charged today.