2 former Singapore Customs officers charged for pocketing tourists' GST refunds

2 former Singapore Customs officers charged for pocketing tourists' GST refunds

Travellers at Singapore's Changi Airport.

SINGAPORE: Two former Singapore Customs officers who allegedly pocketed Goods and Services Tax (GST) tourist refunds were charged in court on Friday (Sep 15). 

In a joint media release, the Singapore Customs, Singapore Police Force and Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) - which conducted a joint investigation - said Li Xiangqing, 34, faces 54 charges after he allegedly took GST tourist refunds amounting to S$52,441.17. 

The other officer, Pang Yeow Biah, 61, faces 43 charges after she allegedly pocketed S$16,015.86 of GST refunds, and another 38 charges for spending S$10,553 of the amount. 

Li allegedly took the money between November 2011 and Aug 2012, while Pang allegedly did so between September 2012 and September 2014, according to court documents. 

They both stopped working for Singapore Customs in March 2015, the news release said. 

The pair, who were working at Changi Airport's GST Refund Inspection Counter at the time, were mainly tasked with processing GST refund claims made by tourists leaving Singapore. However, they would reject some tourists' claims and use those details to process the GST refunds into their own credit card, or credit cards that were under their control. 

One of them used the money to repay credit card debts, the release added. 

If convicted, they face a fine of up to three times the amount pocketed, an additional fine of up to S$10,000, and up to seven years in jail.

The case will next be mentioned on Oct 13. 

Source: CNA/dl