A Malaysian man was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail by the Australian courts on Wednesday for smuggling more than six million cigarettes into the country.
According to the Australian Border Force (ABF), the man was one of two syndicate organisers nabbed in August 2017 and charged with organising the import of the cigarettes.
The ABF said the man had pleaded guilty in November last year to one count of importing tobacco products under the country’s Customs Act 1901.
“On 10 April 2019 he was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for the concealed tobacco which originated from Malaysia with a total duty evasion of more than A$4 million (RM11.78 million),” the ABF said in a statement dated yesterday.
The accused’s counterpart had been given a five-year jail term on Feb 20, this year.
The two men were arrested when they were caught attempting to flee Australia, an earlier ABF statement read.
The duo’s arrests followed that of three Malaysians caught in two factories unpacking the cigarettes, which had been “concealed within sophisticated cover loads”, also in August 2017.
“All three were subsequently arrested and charged under the Customs Act 1901, with possession of tobacco products, knowing that the goods were imported with the intention of defrauding the revenue.
“They were convicted and sentenced to between 16 to 24 months imprisonment for their involvement in the importations.” the ABF said.
The ABF is an independent operations body underneath the country's Home Affairs portfolio tasked with, among others, customs services, as well as investigating and enforcing immigration infractions.