Singapore Customs has seized a total of 3,934 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from two related operations on 24 March 2017.
Three Malaysian men, all aged 23, had been charged in the State Courts on 25 March 2017 for dealing with duty-unpaid cigarettes. Court proceedings for the three men are ongoing.
In the early hours of 24 March 2017, Singapore Customs officers mounted an operation at a commercial building in Toh Guan Road. The officers kept a close watch as two men were seen transferring boxes onto cars in the car park of the building.
Suspecting that there were duty-unpaid cigarettes in the boxes, the officers moved in and detained the two men.
A total of 3,450 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were uncovered from the boxes in the vehicles and on the ground near the vehicles.
The duty-unpaid cigarettes and three vehicles were seized.
The two men were arrested at the scene while the third man, who had fled the scene, was arrested at the Woodlands Checkpoint later in the day.
Leads from the preliminary investigation led Singapore Customs officers to mount another operation the same morning at a self-storage facility in Woodlands Close, where they seized another 484 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from a unit in the facility.
The total amount of duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) involved in these two operations amounted to about $312,260 and $23,100 respectively.
Just last week the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) had seized 2,041 cartons and 60 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes concealed in a bus at Tuas checkpoint.
Singapore Customs again warned that buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the GST Act.
Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years.
Repeat offenders who are caught with more than two kilogrammes of tobacco products will also face mandatory imprisonment and vehicles used in such offences are also liable to be forfeited.