7 arrested, 11,400 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes seized in 2 operations by Singapore Customs

Seven men, aged between 19 and 55, were arrested in two separate operations on Sep 4 and 6 conducted by Singapore Customs.

The operation on Sep 6, which took place in an industrial estate in Depot Lane, saw the arrest of four Singaporean men. Three of them, aged between 25 and 55, had transferred duty-unpaid cigarettes from a truck to a van.

The fourth man, aged 23, was driving another van loaded with duty-unpaid cigarettes from Depot Lane to an open carpark in Seah Im Road before fleeing the scene, but was later arrested at the Woodlands Checkpoint on the day itself.

In a statement issued by Singapore Customs on Sep 11, the operation resulted in a seizure of 7,500 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes and three Singapore-registered vehicles -- a truck and two vans -- that were used to transport the duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Court proceedings against three of the men are ongoing, while the 55-year-old is assisting with the investigation.

In the operation on Sep 4, Singapore Customs officers raided a warehouse in a commercial building in Tuas View Place, after sighting three Singaporean men, aged between 19 and 42, moving green gunny sacks containing what was suspected to be duty-unpaid cigarettes, into the warehouse.

The operation saw the seizure of a total of 3,900 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes and a Singapore-registered truck, which the duty-unpaid cigarettes were unloaded from earlier.

Court proceedings against the three men are ongoing.

The duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded in both operations amounted to about $988,930 and $72,410 respectively.

Under the Customs Act and the GST Act, buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences.

Offenders will be severely dealt with. They can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or imprisonment for up to six years.

Repeat offenders who are caught with more than two kilogrammes of tobacco products will also face mandatory imprisonment. Vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited.