8 arrested for smuggling contraband cigarettes into Singapore on tugboat

8 arrested for smuggling contraband cigarettes into Singapore on tugboat

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A total of 3,490 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were discovered inside a Singapore-registered tugboat during an enforcement operation on Aug 11, 2020. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

SINGAPORE: Eight men were arrested for smuggling 3,490 cartons of contraband cigarettes into Singapore on a tugboat, said the Singapore Police Force on Thursday (Aug 13).

The men, Indonesian nationals aged between 24 and 53, were detained during an operation conducted by the Police Coast Guard and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) at the Western Anchorage on Tuesday.

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Officers from the Police Coast Guard Anti-Smuggling Team conducted an enforcement operation on board this Singapore-registered tugboat at the Western Anchorage on Aug 11, 2020, and found 3,490 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes onboard. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

"During the enforcement operation targeting illegal activities in Singapore waters, a total of 3,490 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were discovered inside the tugboat," the police said in a news release.

The cigarettes were seized as case exhibits, the police said, adding that the duty evaded amounted to S$433,430 while the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was S$33,020.

Investigations by Singapore Customs are ongoing.

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The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about $433,430 and $33,020 respectively. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

Involvement of any form in smuggling duty-unpaid cigarettes - such as buying, selling or storing - is a serious offence under the Customs Act and the GST Act, the police said. 

Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed for up to six years, or both.

Source: CNA/kv(cy)

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