After an operation conducted by Singapore Customs, eight men were arrested and officers seized 5000 cartons of contraband cigarettes on Tuesday, April 24.
The department said in a media release on Thursday, April 26 that the total duty and goods and services tax (GST) evaded amounted to about $439,280 and $32,180 respectively. Among the offenders, officers identified five Singaporeans and three Malaysians, who are aged between 21 and 59 years.
Singapore Customs said that the officers on Tuesday targeted a motor workshop in an industrial building, located at Kaki Bukit Avenue 4, which was suspected to have been a storage and distribution place for contraband cigarettes.
When the officers raided the workshop and found a total of 5,120 cartons and four packets of contraband cigarettes. They also seized a truck with Singapore registration number that earlier entered the workshop. Two Malaysian-registered cars were also seized. Reports said that these cars were suspected to have been used in the delivery of the contraband cigarettes to different locations in Singapore.
While six men arrested from the workshop, another two were arrested from the Woodlands Checkpoint, during their alleged attempt to escape from Singapore.
The police investigation is going on.
Singapore Customs stated that under the Customs Act and the GST Act, buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are considered as serious offences. If the offenders found guilty, then they can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or a jail term up to six years.
In addition to it, they said those repeat offenders, who are caught with more than two kilogrammes of tobacco products will also face mandatory imprisonment and vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited.