SINGAPORE: A 49-year-old man was fined S$8,000 on Tuesday (Aug 20) for bringing cash worth about S$376,000 into Singapore without making a declaration.
Indonesian national Abdul Satar Affandi was stopped by an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officer for a routine check at the airport after arriving from Jakarta on Apr 9.
In response to the officer's questions, Affandi said he had nothing to declare, and placed his bag in an X-ray machine as directed.
Large amounts of cash were detected in his bag. When he opened it up, cash in various currencies was found inside.
This included 350 pieces of S$1,000 notes, 155 pieces of 100,000 Indonesian Rupiah notes (S$1,483), and 260 pieces of 100 Australian dollar notes (S$25,135).
Affandi said the cash belonged to him and were for gambling and medical treatment in Singapore. He also said he was unaware that he needed to declare cash movements in and out of Singapore if they exceeded S$20,000.
The cash was seized and Affandi pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one charge of not giving a full and accurate report of the movement of cash exceeding S$20,000 into Singapore.
Another two charges were taken into consideration.
Affandi's lawyer told the court that his client was a family man who had come to Singapore for medical treatment and to visit the casino with his friends.
The cost for each operation he was to have was S$33,000, which explained the large amounts of money he had, said the lawyer.
"We pray that the court will be lenient to understand ... there are no records of him using the money for nefarious purposes," said the defence counsel, who added that his client had no previous convictions in Singapore or Indonesia.
"The accused is very remorseful and means no disrespect to Singapore and our laws," said the lawyer. "He was mindful of our drug warning but he is just ignorant or not observant of the currency laws."
The judge imposed the fine asked for by the prosecution and ordered the seized cash to be returned to Affandi as per the defence counsel's application.