KUALA LUMPUR: The Customs Department has busted a syndicate smuggling alcoholic beverages declared as vegetables, seizing two containers at North Port in Klang on June 13.

Central Zone Customs assistant director-general Norlela Ismail (pic) said the seizure was made at 11.30pm by a team from the Central Zone Unit 1.

She said that upon inspecting the two containers, they found 8,600 litres of alcoholic beverages believed to be from China and valued at RM160,300, including taxes and duties.

“The syndicate’s modus operandi is to falsely declare the beverage as vegetables on the manifest form to avoid detection by the authorities.

“The syndicate hid the alcoholic drinks behind imported vegetables like broccoli and cabbage,” she told a media conference at the Kelana Jaya Customs Complex on Thursday (June 27).

Norlela said that a shipping representative had been called up to assist in the investigation under Section 135(1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967.

Meanwhile, she said the department also busted another syndicate when they seized 1.56 million sticks of white cigarettes and kretek worth RM1.35mil, including duties and taxes, on June 19.

She said the Central Zone Customs Cobra Unit raided an abandoned warehouse in a factory area at Batu 11, Cheras.

“The syndicate is believed to have used fake Customs stamps on the cigarettes.

“We believe they were meant to be distributed around the Klang Valley and were brought in legally through entry points by declaring the goods as legal merchandise,” she said.

Norlela urged the public to channel information on smuggling activities by contacting the Customs toll-free number at 1-800-88-8855 or the nearest Customs office. — Bernama