Singapore Customs arrests 7 men, seizes truckloads of contraband cigarettes

Singapore Customs arrests 7 men, seizes truckloads of contraband cigarettes

Contraband cigarettes Sep 11 2018
The contraband cigarettes were found in two operations within the same week in Depot Lane and Tuas View Place, Singapore Customs said. (Photos: Singapore Customs)

SINGAPORE: Singapore Customs arrested seven men and seized 11,400
cartons of contraband cigarettes in two operations last week, the authority said. 

In a news release on Tuesday (Sep 11), Singapore Customs said it arrested three Singaporean men aged between 25 and 55 at an industrial estate in Depot Lane at around noon last Thursday. The men were transferring contraband cigarettes from a truck to a van. 

A fourth suspect, a 23-year-old Singaporean man, drove another van loaded with contraband cigarettes from Depot Lane to an open carpark in Seah Im Road before fleeing the scene. He was arrested the same day at Woodlands Checkpoint. 

In total, Singapore Customs seized 7,500 cartons of contraband cigarettes and three Singapore-registered vehicles – a truck and two vans – that were used to transport the cigarettes from the operation last Thursday. 

Court proceedings against three of the men are ongoing, while the 55-year-old man is assisting Singapore Customs with investigations, the authority said.

In a separate operation last Tuesday evening, Singapore Customs officers raided a warehouse in a commercial building in Tuas View Place after seeing three Singaporean men, aged between 19 and 42, moving green gunny sacks suspected to contain contraband cigarettes into it.

A total of 3,900 cartons of contraband cigarettes and the Singapore-registered truck, from which the cigarettes were being unloaded were seized. Court proceedings against the three men are ongoing, the authority said. 

The duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded in the operations amounted to about S$988,930 and S$72,410 respectively, it added. 

Those caught buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, possessing or dealing with duty-unpaid goods can be fined to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and jailed up to six years.

Repeat offenders who are caught with more than 2kg of tobacco products will face mandatory imprisonment, Singapore Customs said, adding that vehicles used for such offences may also be forfeited.

Source: CNA/mz