PUTRAJAYA – A Royal Malaysian Customs Department state director was among 22 people detained to facilitate investigations after a major syndicate smuggling cigarettes and liquor was crippled in an operation in the Klang Valley Wednesday.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull (pic) said 12 of the suspects were customs personnel.
The rest were company owners, their agents and lorry drivers.
“The rogue customs personnel had been offering ‘protection’ to the syndicate and abusing the facilities at the Tax Free Zone in Port Klang.
“We believe the arrests have crippled the biggest syndicate in smuggling cigarettes and liquor at a main port in the Tax Free Zone,” Mohd Shukri said in a statement in Putrajaya.
They were all detained, following a surveillance of more than a year, he said.
He said cash was also seized from the suspects while the contraband was taken from the port warehouses during the operation.
Unpaid taxes from the illegal activities amounted to hundreds of millions of ringgit.
“The cigarettes and liquor were smuggled for the local market. Some of the goods were also smuggled for sale in neighbouring countries,” said Mohd Shukri.
The integrated operation which began Tuesday was headed by MACC and a special task force.
Others involved were the Royal Malaysian Police, Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia, Bank Negara and CyberSecurity. – Bernama