SINGAPORE: Three men have been arrested after more than 2,700 cartons of contraband cigarettes were found inside two vans in Woodlands and Simei.
Singapore Customs said in a news release on Tuesday (Sep 1) that its officers conducted a check on a Singapore-registered van near Woodlands Circle on Friday evening.
They found 2,268 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes packed in brown cardboard boxes inside the vehicle.
Two Singaporean men in the van were arrested.
Singapore Customs officers then conducted a follow-up operation on a Singapore-registered van parked near Simei Street 1, where they found another 500 cartons of contraband cigarettes .
The driver, a male Chinese national, was arrested.
The three men who were arrested are aged between 31 and 47.
Investigations revealed that the two Singaporean men were engaged by an unknown man to rent a van and deliver duty-unpaid cigarettes to various locations.
The Chinese national was engaged by another unknown man to collect the duty-unpaid cigarettes from the two Singaporean men, and deliver the contraband to customers.
The duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about S$236,380 and S$19,130 respectively. The cigarettes and vans were seized.
Singapore Customs said court proceedings against the three men are ongoing.
READ: More than 17,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized from Yishun warehouse in largest haul this year
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.
Those found guilty of doing so 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 contact the Singapore Customs to report these illegal activities.