SINGAPORE: Three repeat offenders were fined S$34 million each after they were found guilty of dealing with duty-unpaid cigarettes, Singapore Customs said on Thursday (Oct 31).
Mohammad Khair Jonid, Noor Hazlan Selamat and Rahmad Mohd Yasin were also sentenced to between 42 months and 45 months in jail.
As none of them can pay the fines, they will have to serve an additional 28 months' jail in default.
Another man, Kamaruddin Abdul Latiff, was sentenced to 33 months in jail and fined S$8 million. He will have to serve an additional 21 months in jail if the fine is not paid.
He was also given an enhanced sentence of 105 days' imprisonment for breach of basic conditions of remission order.
Singapore Customs said in a media release that all four men were liable to enhanced punishment under the Customs Act as they had been previously convicted for offences involving duty-unpaid cigarettes.
On Mar 23, 2018, Singapore Customs officers conducted a check on a 20-foot container parked at an industrial building in Sunview Road and uncovered 10,800 cartons of contraband cigarettes.
Investigations revealed that between February and March last year, Rahmad, 38, had approached Noor Hazlan, 51, to source for a warehouse unit to store duty-unpaid cigarettes.
Noor Hazlan then engaged Mohamad Khair, 51, to rent a warehouse unit for this purpose.
In return, Rahmad offered to pay Noor Hazlan and Mohamad Khair S$2,500 each for every successful shipment of illegal cigarettes delivered to the unit.
Further investigations also revealed that Kamaruddin, 51, had purchased 2,500 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from Rahmad in that same month.
The 2,500 cartons of cigarettes were part of the consignment seized on Mar 23.
The total duty and Goods and Service Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about S$1,123,010 and S$81,410 respectively.
Those found guilty of buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods 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, Singapore Customs said.