SINGAPORE: Five people were arrested and more than 6,000 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized by the Singapore Customs at an industrial building in Woodlands Industrial Park.
The agency said on Monday (Sep 6) that the duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about S$516,490 and S$41,430 respectively.
On Sep 2, Singapore Customs officers observed boxes being transferred into a Singapore-registered box truck at the loading and unloading bay of the industrial building.
"Suspecting that the boxes contained duty-unpaid cigarettes, officers moved in to check and found 1,120 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes in the truck," said Singapore Customs.
Three Singaporean men and a Malaysian woman were arrested.
Checks on a nearby Singapore-registered box truck then uncovered another 4,928 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
The fifth person arrested in the operation was the driver of a Malaysian-registered lorry. The truck was suspected to have been used to deliver the cigarettes to the industrial building.
"He was arrested at the Tuas Checkpoint when he attempted to leave Singapore," said the agency.
A total of 6,048 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized, along with the two Singapore-registered box trucks and the Malaysian-registered lorry.
Investigations are ongoing.
The agency's assistant director-general (Intelligence and Investigation) Yeo Sew Meng said: "We would like to seek the cooperation of owners of industrial premises to be alert and look out for suspicious persons and activities to prevent their premises from being misused."
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, said Singapore Customs.
Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed up to six years, or both.
Vehicles used to commit such offences can also be forfeited.