Contraband cigarettes, liquor worth RM10.5m seized
PORT KLANG, Dec 25 — Customs foiled an attempt to smuggle 37 containers of cigarettes and liquor worth RM10.5 million from the Indonesian registered vessel, ‘Prelude Portsmouth’ at Bukit Gombak Jetty, Pulau Carey, Selangor, on Friday.
Its deputy director-general, (Enforcement and Compliance) Datuk T. Subromaniam said the goods with unpaid tax of about RM60 million to RM80 million were seized at about 2.30pm from the vessel.
Nine Indonesian crew members aged between 30 and 40 years old, were arrested. However, the captain and another man escaped.
“Initial investigations show the vessel is suspected to stopover in Singapore to load and move to its destination in the Philippines.
“But we suspect there was smuggling involved when the ship stopped over in Malaysia before continuing to its destination,” he told reporters today.
He said investigations were underway to determine the exact route of the vessel since the captain and another man escaped when the arrests were made.
However, checks found that all crew members had valid travel documents. They were remanded until Friday.
“Enforcement agencies are working closely to hunt the two men as they had taken all the vessel’s documents when they fled,” he said.
Subromaniam said the department was reviewing security at 249 private jetties in the country, following many smuggling cases in the region.
The implementation of new strategies at all ports and private jetties would reduce smuggling cases by up to 50 per cent by next year.
“The opening of private jetties is to help trade in certain areas but some are taking advantage thus leading bto rampant smuggling. We will review strategies to curb smuggling,” he said. — Bernama