More than 4,700 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized, 3 arrested in Bedok and Woodlands
SINGAPORE: More than 4,700 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized following operations in Bedok and Woodlands, Singapore Customs said on Monday (Aug 23).
Three men - a Singaporean, Chinese national and Malaysian - were also arrested.
Singapore Customs said it conducted an operation on Aug 18 near Bedok North Street 5 where officers observed boxes being transferred from a Singapore-registered van to a Singapore-registered truck.
A check found 1,700 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes in the two vehicles.
The truck driver, a 44-year-old Chinese national, was arrested, said Singapore Customs.
During an operation on the same evening at Woodlands Avenue 6, officers uncovered 2,996 cartons and 40 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in another Singapore-registered van.
The driver and the passenger of the van, a 47-year-old Singaporean and a 54-year-old Malaysian, were arrested.
In a subsequent search at the Singaporean man's residence at Yishun Street 22, officers seized an additional 64 cartons and 37 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes, said Singapore Customs.
The two operations resulted in the seizure of three vehicles and a total of 4,760 cartons and 77 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about S$407,160 and S$32,660 respectively.
Cash amounting to S$12,750, which was suspected to be criminal proceeds from the sale of duty-unpaid cigarettes, was also seized from one of the suspects.
Investigations are ongoing, said Singapore Customs.
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.
Offenders 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 and proceeds of sales of duty-unpaid cigarettes are also liable to be forfeited.
Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or GST can contact the Singapore Customs.