Customs agent arrested for attempting to smuggle over RM1 mln worth of frozen chicken parts
0 month ago, 19-Nov-2020
File photo for illustration purposes
KUCHING (Nov 19): A Customs agent was detained for falsely declaring RM1.031 million worth of frozen chicken parts which were imported into Sarawak without a permit.
Sarawak Customs Director Herman Shah Abdullah said the arrest was made after a Customs enforcement team from Kuching foiled an attempt to smuggle in 250,500 kilograms of frozen chicken parts at Bintulu Port.
He explained that the items, which were kept in six 40-foot containers, were found during ‘Ops Undikar’, carried out at 10.55am on Nov 11 in collaboration with the department’s Zone 6 intelligence centre and land operations branch.
“The team found 16,700 cartons of various frozen chicken parts in 15kg packages, which are estimated to worth RM1.031 million while the unpaid tax was worth RM412,000.
“The items have been seized and brought to the Customs Enforcement Store in Bintulu. The customs agent who declared the goods was also arrested to facilitate the investigation,” he said in a statement today.
According to Herman, the Customs agent had on six sets of forms declaring that the six containers contained frozen mackerels, frozen squid and frozen tuna, which are non-dutiable goods and not subjected to import restrictions.
“This (false declaration) was done to trick the Customs officers, but foiled during the operation. Items such as frozen chicken wings, frozen chicken tails and frozen chicken leg quarters are subjected to Customs (Prohibition of Imports) Order 2017.
“The importer is suspected to be trying to evade the need to apply for an import permit, and wanting to avoid paying the duty import which was 40 per cent of the total value of goods,” he said.
Herman explained that import of chicken commodity is subjected to Details 1(1) Third Schedule, Part 1 of the Customs (Prohibition of Imports) Order 2017 whereby the importer needs a Import Permit issued by the Sarawak Veterinary Services Department.
In this case, he said the importer did not have a legitimate permit, and the goods were also not attached with a halal certificate issued by the Halal Certification Board approved by the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (Jakim).
He added the case is being investigated under Section 133(1)(a) of the Customs Act 1967 for false declaration, which carries a maximum fine of RM500,000 or not more than 20 times the amount of unpaid duty (whichever amount is bigger) or a maximum jail term of seven years, or both, upon conviction.
“We appeal to the public to help Customs to fight smuggling especially involving cigarettes, liquor, firecrackers, drugs and vehicles. We also advise them not to engage in such activities.
“Smuggling is not only detrimental to the country in terms of loss of revenue, in fact it also poses a threat to national security and the welfare of the people,” said Herman.