The State Courts sentenced two Singaporean men, Kamaruddin Bin Abdul Latiff (48), and Azman Bin Mohd Yunos (50) on 6 October 2016 to imprisonment terms of 21 months and 16 months respectively, for dealing with duty-unpaid cigarettes.
On 4 October 2016, Singapore Customs officers spotted Kamaruddin and Azman arriving in two Singapore-registered vans in an operation in Loyang Way, and then unloaded boxes from another Singapore-registered van and loading the boxes onto their respective vans.
The officers moved in for a check and found 1,494 cartons and 60 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in the van driven by Kamaruddin, and 896 cartons and 40 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in the van driven by Azman.
The duty-unpaid cigarettes and the three vans were then seized and the men arrested.
The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) pertinent in this case amounted to more than S$262,600.
Singapore Customs stated in its press release that investigations are still ongoing to identify other suspects involved in the case.
It also stated that buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offenses under the Customs Act and the GST Act. Offenders will be severely dealt with. They 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 of tobacco-related offenses for first-time is $2,000 and for repeat offenders $4,000. Repeat offenders who are caught with more than two kilograms of tobacco products will also face jail sentences ordered by court.
Vehicles used in the act of such offenses are also liable to be forfeited.
Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or Good Services Tax (GST) are asked to call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-2330000, email [email protected], or use [email protected] mobile app to report these illegal activities.