Over 530,000 litres of contraband beer, liquor seized from Selangor stores

PETALING JAYA - More than 530,000 litres of contraband beer and liquor have been pulled off the shelves in Selangor stores as the Customs Department moves to cripple Malaysia's illicit alcohol market.

According to Selangor Customs director Datuk Badaruddin Mohamed Rafik, officers raided 345 stores this year as part of its ongoing anti-contraband Ops Outlet which began in 2010.

A total of 533,274 litres of alcohol worth RM4.29mil (S$1.4 million) was seized in the past 12 months - enough to fill nearly two standard size swimming pools.

"We have arrested 111 suspects and of that number, 96 were compounded with a total value of RM200,765.90," Badaruddin said in a statement Friday.

Customs also raided 24 bonded trucks and warehouses and seized contraband alcohol found in containers.

Officers would check the stamps on the alcohol bottles to ascertain if it had made it to the shelves through legitimate means or had been smuggled in.

If the booze made it into pints here, Customs estimates it would have cost the Government RM16.58mil worth of taxes this year.

"Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown the illicit alcohol market, which costs the Government millions of ringgit every year. This is the theft from the taxpayers and undermines legitimate traders.

"We strive to enhance our enforcement effectiveness through joint collaboration with the Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers (CMTM) and the Confederation of Malaysian Brewers Berhad (CMBB) as well as with other enforcement agencies," Badaruddin added.

When asked what was done with the seized alcohol, a Customs officer said the booze was "disposed of".

The state Customs created a joint task force with CMBB in January 2015, in a bid to curb the supply of contraband alcohol in Selangor.