According to FMT, a 30-year-old Malaysian man was arrested in New Zealand yesterday after attempting to smuggle 2.2 million cigarettes worth RM7.7 million.
New Zealand Customs said they identified the shipment that was sent from Malaysia which arrived in mid-July. It was deemed as the largest-ever tobacco seizure in a single shipment.
The shipment was declared to contain 175 “roof extension units”, but an examination found stacks of metal frames hiding cigarette cartons, comprising a total of 2,208,000 cigarettes. The shipment was imported under a registered trading company, of which the suspect is the sole director.
Customs investigators executed search warrants at his home and business addresses on Wednesday morning and found further evidence of his offences. New Zealand’s Customs leader, Dana McDonald, said the shipment showed “a layer of sophistication in its concealment”.
It also showed a “deliberate attempt to evade tobacco taxes”.
“This does not come as a surprise, as Customs has been making increasing numbers of tobacco seizures in recent years that bear the hallmarks of organised crime. Criminals will do whatever they can to make money, regardless of the commodity – it’s just business for them,” Dana said.
As for the suspect, he is now facing charges under the Customs & Excise Act of defrauding Customs revenue and making an erroneous import entry.
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