Sarawak Customs foil smuggling bid in Sibu

SIBU: Sarawak Customs thwarted an attempt to smuggle in liquor and construction items in 19 containers, all worth about RM1.46mil including tax, at Rejang Port here.

Its director, Herman Shah Abdullah, said the seizure included 12,172.01 litres of liquor of various brands, and eight individuals were also detained to assist in investigation.

The seizure was done around 12.40pm on Oct 23 during an operation codenamed ‘Ops Undikar’.

The operation focused on ensuring that all imported goods and goods sent from elsewhere were specified as required under Section 79 of the Customs Act 1967.

“In the process, document inspections and physical inspections were carried out to ensure that payment of duties or taxes and other regulations is not violated,” he said.

All 19 units of containers and seized items were taken to the Sibu Customs Department, Jalan Deshon here.

Nineteen containers containing liquor and construction items were seized at Rejang Port, Sibu on Oct 23.

On the modus operandi, Herman said agents and importers would declare the items as mixed goods (China goods) and state such goods under a non-taxable tariff code or the lowest tax percentage.

“Such merchandise was also stated with an inaccurate amount or less statement to avoid higher taxes.

“Items that require import permits such as building materials and liquor are deliberately loaded, hidden and covered with other mixed goods to confuse Customs officers during inspections.

“However, the operations enforcement team conducted a thorough inspection and found that some items were not listed correctly in terms of quantity – while some items were not listed, including 12.172.01 litres of liquor of various brands that require import permits with the requirements under Customs Tax (Prohibition of Import) 2017.”

The case is being investigated under Section 133 (1) (a) and Section 135 (1) (a) of the Customs Act 1967.

If convicted, a fine of not less than 10 times the amount of customs duty or RM100,000, whichever is higher and not exceeding 20 times the total value of customs duty or RM500,000, whichever is higher or imprisonment not less than six months and not  more than five years or both, would be meted.