Sarawak Customs Dept scores its biggest bust this year, 46.7 tonnes of illegal firecrackers, fireworks worth RM1.14 mln seized

Herman Shah (front row, second right) with (from front row, left) JKDM Sarawak senior assistant director II Sargandang Liman, assistant director Kaddy Jukin and senior assistant director II Musa Hamden showing the seized goods during the press conference held at Kuching Customs Enforcement Store in Sejingkat Industrial Area in Kuching. Photo: Nur Ashikin Louis

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 11: The Sarawak Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) made its biggest bust so far this year after it seized 46.7 tonnes of illegal firecrackers and fireworks worth RM1.14 million including customs duty on May 1.

Its director Herman Shah Abdullah said the successful operation was the result of an inspection conducted on two containers transported by two trailer trucks along 7th Mile Penrissen Road heading to Haji Baki/Batu Kitang Road during Ops Letup 2021.

He said the containers were scheduled to arrive in Kuching late at night to avoid being sniffed out by the authorities. However, the containers arrived in Kuching earlier and were intercepted by the operations team of the JKDM Kuching Enforcement Division.

The seized illegal firecrackers and fireworks. Photo: Nur Ashikin Louis

“Upon inspection, we found goods in the form of firecrackers and fireworks of various brands estimated to weigh about 46.7 tonnes with an estimated value of RM754,152.12 and an estimated customs duty worth RM386,198.88.

“The goods are believed to be imported from abroad and used a valid import permit. It is believed that the importer has made a false declaration that the quantity pledged is not the same as the quantity imported with the intention of cheating tax payments.

“The goods are believed to be meant for distribution around Kuching city due to high demand ahead of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai Dayak festive seasons,” he said in a press conference held at Kuching Customs Enforcement Store in Sejingkat Industrial Area here, today.

He also disclosed that three men aged between 44 and 60 were detained to assist in the investigation.

Herman Shah (centre) showing the illegal firecrackers and fireworks in one of the containers to the press while others look on. Photo: Nur Ashikin Louis

The case would be investigated under Section 133(1)(a) under Customs Act 1967 for falsifying a declaration, where the offender could face a fine of not more than RM500,000 or imprisonment not exceeding seven years if convicted.

The case is also being investigated under Section 135(1)(g) under the same Act as an attempt to avoid paying tax fraudulently, which carries a fine of not less than 10 times the value of the goods or RM50,000 according to the greater amount and not exceeding 20 times the value of the goods or RM500,000 in any greater amount, or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both.

As of May 9 this year, Sarawak has seized a total of 60.17 tonnes of illegal firecrackers and fireworks with a total estimated value of RM795,076.07 and a total estimated customs duty worth RM513,166.87 across 15 cases. — DayakDaily