Raymond Soh Tian Khoon, a 53-yr-old Singaporean was sentenced by the State Courts on 17 July 2019 to 42 months’ imprisonment and a fine of $10.416 million for dealing with duty-unpaid cigarettes.
As Soh, a repeat offender, did not pay the fine, he will serve an additional 28 months’ of imprisonment in default for his conviction of two charges of dealing with duty-unpaid goods.
According to the Singapore Customs, its officers had conducted an operation at an industrial building in Bukit Batok Street 23 where a total of 3,948 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes, a Singapore-registered truck, and two Malaysia-registered cars were seized.
Soh and five other men were arrested for dealing with duty-unpaid cigarettes. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about $323,120 and $23,850 respectively.
According to the authority, investigations revealed that Soh had coordinated the delivery of duty-unpaid cigarettes. He engaged one of the men to drive a truck loaded with duty-unpaid cigarettes to the industrial building in Bukit Batok Street 23.
Soh also texted the details of the delivery location to another man, who together with three other men went to the location to collect the duty-unpaid cigarettes from the truck.
The cigarettes were to be loaded into the two Malaysian-registered cars for distribution to various locations in Singapore. The five other men arrested have been sentenced by the State Courts to between eight and 39 months’ imprisonment.
Soh was previously convicted on 17 October 2006 for delivering 200 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes, and he was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment. In 2012, he was caught for delivering 850 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes. In 2013, Soh was caught again while being released on bail for his 2012 offence, for importing 90 cartons and 604 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
For his repeated offences in 2012 and 2013, he was convicted on 12 February 2014 and jailed 14 months and fined $352,000. As Soh did not pay the court fine, he served another six months’ of imprisonment in default.
Assistant Director-General (Intelligence & Investigation) Yeo Sew Meng said, “Soh is a recalcitrant who had repeatedly smuggled duty-unpaid cigarettes thinking that he could get away each time. Singapore Customs would like to warn like-minded offenders that repeat offenders will receive a heavier sentence under the Customs Act, and those who are caught with more than two kilogrammes of tobacco products will face a mandatory imprisonment sentence.”
The authority stressed 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. Vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited.
It also urged members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or GST to call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-2330000, email [email protected] or use [email protected] mobile app (which can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play) to report these illegal activities.