The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) found 1,127 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes being smuggled into Singapore in two separate cases at Woodlands Checkpoint from 19 to 21 August.
According to the ICA’s statement on Facebook, the cigarettes were wrapped in plastic trunking and tape and were concealed inside the tyres of the vehicles. The officers involved became suspicious when they noticed anomalies in the spare tyres and scanned image.
Two Malaysian men, aged 19 and 35, were referred to Singapore Customs for further investigation, said ICA. A total of 542 packets of these duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized from a Singapore-registered car while another 585 packets were found in a Malaysia-registered car.
The statement added, “These methods of concealment are a cause for concern as similar methods may be used by people with ill-intent to smuggle security items into Singapore. The ICA will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles so as to safeguard Singapore’s security.”
In a separate case, the ICA also announced on their website on 19 August of the seizure of 12,479 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes which were found inside concrete blocks lat month on 27 July.
Officers conducting checks on arriving Malaysia-registered vehicles at the over0sized lorry lane at Tuas Checkpoint became suspicious when they noticed anomalies in the concrete blocks that were being transported by a lorry. Upon drilling holes into the block, the officers uncovered duty-unpaid cigarettes inside.
The 25-year old male Malaysian driver was immediately arrested and the case was referred to Singapore Customs for further investigations.
This haul is the largest uncovered by the ICA in the last five years, said the authority in the statement. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about S$1.24 million and S$90,590 respectively.
In July, a 39-year old Indonesian woman was arrested after the Singapore Cruise Centre uncovered 109 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes which she smuggled in via her hand-carried baggage.
An in January, 17 men aged between 22 and 48 were arrested by the Police Coast Guard (PCG) for their suspected involvement in smuggling 3,740 cartons and 448 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded, in this case, amounted to about $396,200 and $28,820 respectively.
Both cases were referred to Singapore Customs for further investigation.