Abdul Rashid bin Abdullah, a 61-year-old Singaporean man, was sentenced by the State Courts to 38 months imprisonment and a fine of $6.6 million on Thursday (1 September), wrote Singapore Customs on its website.
Abdul Rashid pleaded guilty to two charges of dealing with duty-unpaid cigarettes. The statement stated that if he is unable to pay the fine, he will have to serve an additional 22 months of default sentence.
Singapore Customs received information that a terraced house in Upper Paya Lebar Road was used to store duty-unpaid cigarettes on 31 August 2016.
Singapore Customs then conducted investigations and visited the house, in which they found 2,400 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes kept in wooden frames and brown boxes. Abdul Rashid was arrested and the duty-unpaid cigarettes seized. The duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded in this case amounted to about $204,990.
Abdul Rashid had rented the house to store the duty-unpaid cigarettes. He subsequently retrieved the duty-unpaid cigarettes from the wooden frames, using tools such as a hammer, penknife and screwdrivers.
Abdul Rashid had been previously convicted on 3 October 2008 for dealing with 1,239 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes and was then sentenced to 36 months’ imprisonment.
Buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the Goods and Services Tax Act.
Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, and/or jailed for up to six years. The minimum court fine for first-time and repeat offenders of tobacco-related offences is $2,000 and $4,000 respectively.
Repeat offenders who are caught with more than two kilogrammes of tobacco products will also face mandatory jail sentences.
Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-2330000, email [email protected] or use Customs@SG mobile app (which can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play) to report these illegal activities.