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Malaysian jailed for smuggling more than 6 million cigarettes into Australia

Malaysian jailed for smuggling more than 6 million cigarettes into Australia

The smuggled cigarettes had a total alleged duty evasion of more than A$4 million (US$2.86 million). (Photo: Australia Border Force)

MELBOURNE: A Malaysian man has been sentenced to five years in jail for smuggling more than 6 million cigarettes into Australia.

The Australia Border Force (ABF) said in a news release on Saturday (Feb 23) that the cigarettes, concealed within “sophisticated cover loads”, originated from Malaysia and the total duty evaded amounted to more than A$4 million (US$2.86 million).

The man pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court on Feb 20 and will be subject to a non-parole period of three years.

“Following his release from prison the individual will be removed from Australia,” said ABF.

The man was one of two syndicate organisers who were intercepted when trying to leave Australia on Aug 13, 2017.

Both men were arrested and charged with organising the import of the six million cigarettes, according to the release. The second man has also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in April.

The Malaysian man will be subject to a non-parole period of three years. (Photo: Australia Border Force)

ABF added that another three Malaysian nationals were located unpacking the tobacco in two factories on Aug 10, 2017.

The suspects were subsequently arrested and charged under the Customs Act 1901 with the possession of tobacco products, knowing that the goods were imported with the intention of defrauding revenue.

They were convicted and sentenced to between 16 months and 24 months imprisonment for their involvement in the importations.

In the last financial year, ABF said it made more than 110,000 detections of illicit tobacco at the border including almost 240 million cigarettes and 217 tonnes of tobacco, worth more than A$356 million in evaded duty.

Source: CNA/zl(mn)

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