Singapore Customs said on Thursday that it has seized 1,024 cartons and 710 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes from two related operations in the country. The authorities said in a press release that three Singaporean men along with a male Chinese national were also arrested in the raid.
On Monday, the Singapore Customs officers saw the 32-year-old Chinese national, who has been identified as Xu Songxin, leaving a unit of a condominium along Holland Road.
Immediately, the officers conducted a check on Xu and searched his room in the unit. They uncovered 260 cartons and 421 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes during the operation. Xu was arrested and the duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized.
According to Singapore Customs, the investigations revealed that Xu had stored the duty-unpaid cigarettes in the room while he was waiting for further instructions regarding the delivery.
Meanwhile, the Singapore Customs officers mounted another operation following related investigation on Tuesday, Dec.5.
The authorities trailed a car driven by a man to a car park in Jurong West Street 41 and noticed the driver parking the car next to a van. Later, they saw two other men approaching the vehicles to transfer a box from the van to the car.
When the officers moved in to conduct a check, they found a total of 764 cartons and 289 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes. Both the vehicles were seized in this operation and three Singaporean men were arrested for their suspected involvement in duty-unpaid cigarette activities.
The Singapore Customs said that the total duty and Goods and Services Tax involved in these two cases amounted to about S$96,140 and S$7,060 respectively. The authorities added that Xu was sentenced by the State Courts on Dec 6 to six months' imprisonment for storing duty-unpaid cigarettes.
The investigations for the three Singaporean men are still going on.
Under the Customs Act and the GST Act, buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences and the offenders will be severely dealt with. They can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years.
Singapore Customs further added that repeat offenders, who are caught with more than two kilogrammes of tobacco products, will also face mandatory imprisonment. Vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited.