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Director of freight forwarder, 3 others arrested over 1,200 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes

Director of freight forwarder, 3 others arrested over 1,200 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes

Singapore Customs officers found duty-unpaid cigarettes in the two cars during the operation in the vicinity of Hendon Road and Netheravon Road on Nov 20, 2020. (Photo: Singapore Customs)

SINGAPORE: The director of a freight-forwarding company was arrested along with three others after authorities found thousands of cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes, said Singapore Customs on Wednesday (Nov 25).

The duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded on the cigarettes came up to nearly S$163,000.

During an operation around Changi on Nov 20 and a follow-up operation the next day, customs officers seized 1,200 cartons and 11 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes, said the agency in a media release.

The men are aged between 44 and 56.

While conducting checks on two Singapore-registered cars parked along Hendon Road and Netheravon Road, officers found 1,200 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes loaded in the passenger seats and boot.

Two cars and a total of 1,200 cartons and 11 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized. (Photo: Singapore Customs)

The two drivers, who are brothers, were arrested.

A third man was also arrested along Netheravon Road and 11 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized during a follow-up search of his residence.

READ: More than 40kg of sexual enhancement drugs found hidden in packages at Changi Airfreight Centre

CIGARETTES DECLARED AS STATIONERY

Investigations revealed that one of the drivers, a director of a freight forwarder based in the Changi Airfreight Centre (CAC), imported the cigarettes on Nov 20 while falsely declaring them as stationery.

He collected boxes containing the cigarettes from the airfreight terminal and stored them in his company premises within the CAC. He and his elder brother then loaded them into their respective cars and smuggled them out of the CAC in the evening.

READ: From smoking devices to drugs: How ICA is tackling an increase in contraband in air cargo

Further investigations revealed that a fourth man was also involved in the delivery of the cigarettes found in the two cars. He was arrested on Nov 21.

The duty and GST evaded on the 1,200 cartons and 11 packets of cigarettes amounted to about S$151,290 and S$11,530 respectively.

READ: Thousands of e-vaporisers confiscated in 2 smuggling attempts

The brothers and the fourth man have been charged in court and the court granted applications for them to be remanded for further investigations. Investigations are also ongoing for the other man.

Singapore Customs said buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are "serious offences".

Offenders may be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed for up to six years or both.

Vehicles used in such offences may also be forfeited.

Source: CNA/jt(ac)

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