You can tell a smuggled beer by its price, warns Customs

PETALING JAYA - Not all cheap beer is smuggled, but price is an indicator that the beer could be illicit.

Customs director of intelligence R. Mariappa said beer prices that "are too good to be true" might be smuggled.

"They can be sold at a cheaper price because they have been brought in without duties and taxes being paid," he said.

Mariappa said buyers were attracted to the low prices but did not realise the true origin of the goods.

"These cheap beers may be dangerous because they may have passed their expiry date," he added. Mariappa said beers were usually smuggled into the country via containers at the country's sea ports.

The first line of defence against this is the department's screening system to detect smuggling acticity based on risk indicators. Scanners are also used to scan suspicious cargo.

The department also occasionally receives tip-offs from the public or other enforcement agencies.

"Only a minimal amount of smuggled beer is eventually sold to the public," he said in an email interview.

On the possibility of fake duty stamps affixed on smuggled beer, Mariappa said members of the public who suspect the authenticity of duty stamps on beers may lodge reports with the nearest Enforcement Division of the Royal Malaysian Customs Department.