Some 1.4 million sticks of white cigarettes and kretek (unfiltered cigarettes of Indonesian origin made with a blend of tobacco, cloves and others) of various brands were seized by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) Perak on October 31.
The cigarettes, worth RM1 million, were seized during a raid at an uninhabited house in Taman Saujana Indah, Jalan Kampung Banjar at Teluk Intan, after receiving information from the public.
According to the director of JKDM Perak, Dr Mohamad Saprin, the house was storing untaxed cigarettes.
“Branded cigarettes with fake stamps were also found, which were intended to evade the authorities,” he told reporters at JKDM Perak recently.
“We believe the cigarettes were being sold openly, but at the same time, we’re still locating the owner of the house to facilitate investigations,” Mohamad added.
In a related development, JKDM also seized at least 200 bottles of alcoholic beverages of various brands, which were also untaxed, during a raid at a grocery store here in Ipoh on October 30. They were worth RM40,000.
Following the raid, the store owner and a wholesaler were arrested to facilitate investigations.
“They failed to present any documents that prove the beverages were legally imported into this country,” Mohamad stated. “The drinks were sold at 20 to 30 percent below the market price.
“We also believe that the beverages were targeted at buyers who will be celebrating festivities during November and December this year.
“Preliminary investigations have shown that all of the beverages weren’t from Malaysia. Thus, we’re still investigating the country of origin and how they were illegally imported into this country,” he explained.
Investigations for both cases are ongoing under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967.
If convicted, involved parties will be held liable for the first offence to a fine of minimum 10 times the amount of customs duty or RM100,000, whichever is the greater amount, and the second offence, a maximum of 20 times the amount of customs duty or RM500,000, whichever is the greater amount.