Malaysian customs officials plan to send more than 196,000 cans of smuggled beer gurgling down the drain after confiscating them from a gang that specialised in reselling duty-free drinks to pubs and grocers.

Officials cannot auction off the beer, worth about 287,000 ringgit ($84,040) with 1 million ringgit ($292,900) owed in unpaid duty and sales tax, because the sale would affect the domestic market, the Star newspaper said on Tuesday.

The smugglers worked with freight forwarders and haulers over six months to obtain duty-free beers meant for shops in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, customs officials told the paper.

Each of the 8,178 seized cartons was to have been sold for 30 ringgit, or about a third of the market price, customs official Madrina Alwi said.

But the plan went flat after customs officers raided an industrial estate where the beer was stored and caught two Myanmar nationals, the paper said.