SINGAPORE: A 53-year-old man was on Wednesday (Jul 17) sentenced to three-and-a-half years' jail and fined S$10.4 million for coordinating the delivery of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
Raymond Soh Tian Khoon, a repeat offender, was convicted of two charges of dealing with duty-unpaid goods.
As he did not pay the fine, he will serve an additional 28 months in jail in default.
Soh is a recalcitrant, said Singapore Customs in a media release, noting that he had previously been jailed for similar offences committed on three separate occasions.
In the latest case involving Soh, he was arrested after customs officers raided an industrial building at Bukit Batok Street 23 in April 2017.
Officers found 3,948 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded was about S$323,120 and S$23,850 respectively, said Singapore Customs.
A Singapore-registered truck and two Malaysia-registered cars were seized. Five other men were arrested.
“Investigations revealed that Soh had coordinated the delivery of duty-unpaid cigarettes,” said Singapore Customs, adding that he had engaged one of the men to drive a truck loaded with the cigarettes to the Bukit Batok industrial building.
Four of the men then collected the cigarettes from the truck. The goods were to be loaded into the two Malaysian-registered cars for distribution to various locations in Singapore.
The five men have all been dealt with, receiving jail sentences of between eight months and 39 months.
Soh was previously convicted in October 2006 for delivering 200 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes, and was sentenced to 10 months' jail.
In 2012, he was caught again for delivering 850 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
While he was on bail, he was caught the following year for importing 90 cartons and 604 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
For the 2012 and 2013 offences, Soh had been sentenced to 14 months’ jail and fined S$352,000. He served an additional six months’ jail in default of the fine.
“Soh is a recalcitrant who had repeatedly smuggled duty-unpaid cigarettes thinking that he could get away each time,” said Mr Yeo Sew Meng, assistant director-general of intelligence and investigation at Singapore Customs.
“Singapore Customs would like to warn like-minded offenders that repeat offenders will receive a heavier sentence under the Customs Act, and those who are caught with more than 2kg of tobacco products will face a mandatory imprisonment sentence."