MACC probes port smuggling ring

KUALA LUMPUR – Two people were remanded in custody for four days in order to help with investigations into smuggling activity uncovered in Port Klang.

Yesterday, the Magistrate’s Court granted a remand to Saturday.

A special task force, led by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission(MACC), detained 19 container trucks suspected of transporting various types of smuggled items in a recent operation conducted in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Initial investigations, according to sources revealed that the syndicate controlled more than ten forwarding companies which were used to smuggle goods into the country by filing false tax declarations.

The investigation, which lasted three months, revealed that the method of operation involved the use of various forwarding firms registered under the names of people who were unaware of import and export transactions.

Source: “This was done in order to deceive authorities and allow syndicate members to avoid any action taken against them by claiming that they had no connections to the said businesses,” said a person.

The syndicate, which has been operating for more than 10 years, is thought to be headed by an outsider. Its main office is located in another country.

This syndicate is thought to manage about 3,000 containers a month. Estimated tax evasion over the last 10 years amounts to RM3.5bil based upon a minimum tax rate of RM7,000 per container.

Source: “To avoid taxes, the syndicate used false declarations on Customs Form 9 declaring that the items were non-taxable such as wheelchairs or medical supplies,” the source said.

Investigations also revealed that the “flying container” was only allowed to enter the Public Licensed Warehouse in North Port for 10 to 15 seconds to fool the authorities. The containers were not properly inspected by customs and then distributed across the country.

Tan Sri Azam Baki, MACC’s chief commissioner, confirmed the remand and promised a thorough investigation in accordance with the MACC Act of 2009, the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AML), the Customs Act of 1965, and the Inland Revenue Board Act.

“MACC is pleased with the cooperation of Customs Director-General and hopes that departmental heads will take similar measures to reduce corruption and losses in their agencies.

We have identified all the people involved in this gang, including the mastermind, who we believe is overseas, as well as the owners of the companies, forwarding agents, Customs officers and others. They will be detained soon.

He said that he would also ask foreign agencies for help in obtaining information about the accounts of the mastermind, so that action could be taken.

The MACC, Customs, and the Inland Revenue Board worked together to uncover the activities of Port Klang’s largest smuggling ring.

The MACC has dismantled a smuggling syndicate and tax evasion at the KL International airport Terminal (KLIA Cargo) in Sepang. This totaled RM2bil over the last three years.

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