SEPANG, Sept 11 -- The Royal Malaysian Customs (JKDM) crippled five attempts to smuggle cigarettes via air route between Aug 6 and yesterday (Sept 10) involving 8.84 million sticks of cigarettes of various brands with an estimated seizure value including duty at RM6.78 million.
Customs central zone assistant director-general Datuk Zulkurnain Mohamed Yusuf said the cigarettes which were not manufactured in Malaysia were confiscated at the Free Commercial Zone (FCZ), Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here during the period and were brought in by air from Singapore and Laos.
“This mode of smuggling is quite new as they (the syndicates) usually use the sea route,” he said in a media conference here today.
Zulkurnain said the air route is not so popular to transport cigarettes as the cost is quite high at around RM30 per kilogramme and syndicates were believed to be choosing other avenues to smuggle following stringent controls especially in Port Klang.
In detailing the operation at FCZ, Zulkurnain said the first raid on Aug 6 yielded 2.94 million sticks or 147,000 packets of white cigarettes worth about RM294,000 and the duty or tax on the consignment was estimated at RM1.97 million.
According to him, investigations found the cigarettes which were imported from Singapore via MK646 were declared in the airwaybill as spare parts.
On Aug 14, Customs seized another 1.3 million sticks or 65,000 packets of white cigarettes worth about RM130,000 and the estimated duty payable on the consignment was about RM871,000.
According to him, initial investigations found the cigarettes were imported from Vientiane, Laos via flight AK553 and were declared as general cargo in the air waybill.
On Sept 3, 1.3 million sticks or 65,000 packets of white cigarettes worth RM104,000 were confiscated and the duty payable on the consignment was about RM868,000.
According Zulkurnain, initial investigations found the cigarettes which were also imported from Vientiane via flight AK553 were declared as general cargo as well.
Yesterday morning, he said Customs seized 1.3 million sticks or 65,000 packets of white cigarettes estimated to be worth RM130,000 and the duty payable on the consignment was about RM871,000.
In the evening, Customs seized two million sticks or 100,000 packets of white cigarettes worth about RM240,000 and the duty payable on the consignment was about RM1.35 million.
Zulkurnain said both consignments of cigarettes confiscated yesterday were imported from Singapore via MK646 and they were declared as garments and consolidated cargo in the air waybill.
“We are still investigating the link between the five cases and the parties involved,” he said.