SINGAPORE: Ten people were arrested and more than 2,600 cartons of contraband cigarettes were seized in several operations across the island last week, the Singapore Customs said on Friday (Oct 16).
In two of the operations, the authorities raided two Housing Board flats at King George’s Avenue and Serangoon North Avenue 4 that were used for storage and peddling of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
Two Singaporean men and a male Chinese national were arrested. Authorities also confiscated 639 cartons and 20 packets of contraband cigarettes.
In three other operations conducted at Kang Ching Road in Jurong West, Eunos Industrial Park and Realty Park in Hougang, Singapore Customs officers foiled attempts made to retrieve shipments of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
The cigarettes were concealed in places such as a metal oven, wooden shelves and an air purifier unit. Two male Chinese nationals and a Singaporean woman were arrested, and 1,596 cartons and 5,942 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized.
Four Singaporeans were arrested at two other raids at Yishun Ring Road and Jurong West Street 93.
The three men and one woman were apprehended for storing and delivering duty-unpaid cigarettes. Singapore Customs officers also confiscated 369 cartons and 908 packets of cigarettes.
Court proceedings against four of the men and one of the women are ongoing. Investigations are ongoing for the remaining four men and one woman.
In all, a total of 2,604 cartons and 6,870 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes and a vehicle were seized during the operations, which took place from Oct 5 to Oct 9.
The duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about S$293,700 and S$23,590 respectively.
"Buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the GST Act," said Singapore Customs in a media release.
Those found guilty can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years. Vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited.
Members of public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline at 1800-2330000 or use the Customs@SG mobile app to make a report.