PETALING JAYA - Twelve Customs officers - including a state director - are among 22 people arrested for alleged corrupt activities involving hundreds of millions of ringgit worth of contraband items.
They were detained in simultaneous raids in Klang, Dengkil and Cheras.
It is understood that those arrested were members of the largest syndicate smuggling cigarettes and alcohol from Port Klang's duty free zone, who then sold the contraband in the local and international markets.
The swoop yesterday involved the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, police, Bank Negara and CyberSecurity.
It is believed the syndicate would import the items but without going through the usual Customs inspection. The items for which duty is not paid, are then "distributed" to local sundry shops to be sold off at a fraction of the regular price.
MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull said the enforcement officers detained had allegedly accepted bribes to "let through" the smuggled items without collecting Customs duties.
"We believe the duty for the smuggled items amounted to hundreds of millions of ringgit.
"Among those detained were 10 company owners and their agents as well as a lorry driver, who transported the smuggled items," he said in a statement here yesterday.
More arrests are expected soon.
Mohd Shukri added that MACC also seized money from those detained and the smuggled items from a warehouse in Port Klang.
"We conducted surveillance at Port Klang's duty free zone for more than a year before deciding to swoop in. "Those detained abused the facilities at the duty free zone and the enforcement officers had protected the smugglers," he said.
Shukri said the smuggled items were being sold in the country as well as in neighbouring countries. When contacted, Customs director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad said he would wait for the full report from the MACC.
"We will give our full cooperation in the investigation."