JOHOR BARU: In what appears to be the largest seizure of contraband cigarettes in Johor this year, the Customs Department has discovered RM9.45mil worth of illegal cigarettes at a Kulai warehouse.
Cartons containing more than eight million sticks of cigarettes were found during a raid at around 2.30pm on July 23, said Johor Customs Department director Sazali Mohamad.
He said that the cartons were stored in plastic bags covered with canvas at the warehouse.
“The estimated value of the items before tax was RM3.8mil while the duty and tax value alone is about RM5.7mil.
“We are trying to identify the owner of the warehouse and other related information,” added Sazali.
He said that it is believed that the items were brought in from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia by sea as some of the cartons were wet and stained.
Sazali said this at a press conference at the state department headquarters here on Wednesday (Aug 3).
He added that no arrests were made during the raid.
Sazali added that the contraband cigarettes would have been distributed to the market in various parts of Johor.
In a separate case, Sazali said a 26-year-old man was arrested for possessing 3,840 cans of beer at around 6.45am on July 22.
The suspect was arrested at KM2.7 of Jalan Sultan Ismail along Iskandar Coastal Highway near Iskandar Puteri here.
“The alcoholic beverages of various brands, worth RM48,000 including taxes, were stashed in the passenger seat and boot of a multi-purpose vehicle driven by the suspect.
“The suspect, who was an employee at a car accessory shop, could not produce an invoice, Customs forms or import permit for the beverages as requested by the department personnel.
“He has since been charged at the Johor Baru Magistrate’s Court on July 27, where he claimed trial to the offence,” he said, adding that the suspect is waiting to be tried.
Sazali urged the public to continue cooperating with the department to combat the smuggling of contraband items by calling its toll-free hotline at 1-800-88-8855 or head to the nearest Customs office.
“Those who come to us with information are assured anonymity so they do not have to worry,” he added.