Sri Lanka Customs has confiscated a quantity of electronic goods, shoes, cigarettes and other items that were being smuggled into the country inside five containers that were supposed to contain a 13,000-kilo shipment of sugar.
The value of the smuggled goods has been estimated at more than Rs. 1.3 billion.
According to Customs sources, the shipment was ordered by two Sri Lankan importers, and the containers had arrived from India.
The importers had declared the value of the shipment at Rs. 6,147,650. After obtaining the tax relief allowed for sugar imports, the importers had paid Rs. 2,082,100 in duty. The tax relief amounted to Rs. 798,175.
Customs deputy director Mali Piyasena ordered that the five containers be detained.
A secret, late-night attempt to unload goods from the containers was checked when Customs staff seized an unauthorised lorry found within the Port premises.
Five persons have been remanded in connection with the smuggling attempt.
According to Customs deputy director Mr. Piyasena, this is the largest haul of smuggled goods the Customs investigation unit has uncovered in recent years.
Investigations are proceeding under the direction of the Director General of Customs, Sarath Jayathilleke, and Directors of Customs, Neville Gunawardene and Thilak Perera.