Cigarette smugglers recruited on Carousell, offered $450 per trip

David Sun
The New Paper
Sep 20, 2017

They knew they would be smuggling contraband cigarettes into Singapore in vehicles, but still did it.

For this, 11 people have been jailed this year, Singapore Customs said yesterday.

In June, The New Paper found several such job listings on mobile marketplace app Carousell, promising fast cash for drivers.

When contacted on June 29, a user who posted several such listings said the job was to help a "company" bring duty-unpaid cigarettes from Johor Baru into Singapore. He offered to pay $450 a trip and said the car would be provided by the "company". TNP did not follow through with the job, and the user was banned the next day.

Singapore Customs said that Manap Umas, 61, was last week jailed for six months for smuggling contraband into Singapore.

The Singaporean accepted the job on Carousell after he was promised $500 a trip despite knowing it involved smuggling.

He was arrested on Tuesday last week at the Woodlands Checkpoint with 226 cartons and 760 packets of contraband cigarettes concealed in modified compartments in a car.

Two Malaysian women aged 31 and 20 were also jailed last month for smuggling 256 cartons and 701 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore on Aug 18. They were promised $420 a trip.

Mr Yeo Sew Meng, the assistant director-general for intelligence and investigation at Singapore Customs, said there have been more of such cases.

He said: "Such job offers may appear attractive but they often make false promises for payment, and you will end up paying a high price when you are caught."

Under the Customs Act and the GST Act, offenders caught buying, selling, delivering or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are liable to a fine of up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, or imprisonment for up to six years, or both. Vehicles may also be forfeited.

Carousell told TNP yesterday that it has been working closely with Singapore Customs to identify and ban users suspected of creating accounts to use the platform for smuggling.

Its spokesman said ituses automated tools, artificial intelligence and dedicated teams to identify bad actors, remove listings and ban accounts.

He added: "Many of the accounts originate from Malaysia and (we) are working on tackling this issue at its source.

"Dedicated teams at Carousell monitor for suspicious activity and look into community reports to ensure the quality and safety of our marketplace."

The New Paper

Get The New Paper for more stories.