- POSTED: 16 Jan 2014 10:42
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Four Malaysian men were sentenced on Monday to between 34 and 36 months’ jail for their involvement in contraband cigarettes.They were arrested on Saturday by Singapore Customs officers.
SINGAPORE: Four Malaysian men were sentenced on Monday to between 34 and 36 months’ jail for their involvement in contraband cigarettes.
They were arrested on Saturday by Singapore Customs officers.
A total of 14,999 cartons of contraband cigarettes, valued at S$1.4 million, were also seized.
The duty and Goods and Services Tax evaded exceeded S$1.1 million.
Singapore Customs said this is the third largest seizure of contraband cigarettes since 2009.
On Friday, Singapore Customs and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) conducted checks on a 40-foot container when it arrived at the Tanjong Pagar Scanning Station.
The checks revealed duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden in 16 pallets of board partitions.
Officers then kept a close watch as the pallets were transported to a warehouse at Soon Lee Street.
Three men -- 37-year-old Mogan Ayawoo, 26-year-old Kasidesan Ramansantiran, and 25-year-old Manirajan Abimanan -- were seen moving the pallets into a unit.
Officers then raided the unit and found the cigarettes concealed in specially constructed hollow spaces in the pallets.
The fourth man, 33-year-old Thiru Chelvam Krishnasamy, who is also the ringleader, was arrested later.
Singapore Customs said investigations revealed Thiru had sought the assistance of the other three to move the contraband cigarettes into the unit.
Thiru was sentenced to three years' jail, while the others were sentenced to 34 months' jail each.
Singapore Customs said buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act.
Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years.
The minimum court fine for first-time and repeat offenders of tobacco-related offences are S$2,000 and S$4,000 respectively.
Repeat offenders caught with more than two kilogrammes of tobacco products will also face mandatory imprisonment.
Vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited.
Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of customs duty or GST can contact the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-2330000 or email email@example.com.