The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the Woodlands Checkpoint successfully foiled two attempts to smuggle duty-unpaid cigarettes and prohibited chewing tobacco into Singapore by hiding the contraband items among consignments in cargo conveyances.
A total of 6,470 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes and 74,940 sachets of chewing tobacco, weighing approximately 750kg, were seized.
Case 1: About 750kg of prohibited chewing tobacco and 3,448 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes seized
On 21 April 2017 at about 7.20am, ICA officers directed an arriving Malaysia-registered lorry, driven by a lone 47-year-old Malaysian man, for further checks at the Woodlands Checkpoint.
During the course of checks, ICA officers found 74,940 sachets of chewing tobacco and 3,448 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes, weighing approximately 750kg, concealed among a consignment declared as wardrobe sets.
Case 2: 3,022 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes seized
On 22 April 2017 at about 7.10am, ICA officers detected 3,022 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes concealed among a consignment declared as wheat grain and food grade bran when they conducted checks on an arriving Malaysia-registered lorry, driven by a lone 48-year-old Malaysian man at the Woodlands Checkpoint.
The total duty and Goods and Services Tax evaded for the cigarettes in both cases amounted to about S$502,070 and S$37,210 respectively.
The two men, duty-unpaid cigarettes, and vehicles from both cases were handed over to the Singapore Customs. Investigations against both men are ongoing. The vehicles used in the commission of such offences are liable to be forfeited, ICA said.
The import and sale of chewing tobacco is prohibited in Singapore. The prohibited chewing tobacco seized in the first case was handed over to the Health Sciences Authority for investigation.
ICA stated on their statement, “Our borders are our first line of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security. The security checks are critical to our nation’s security. The ICA will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle in undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contrabands.”
The same methods of concealment used by contraband smugglers may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attacks in Singapore, ICA reminded.