4 men arrested for trying to smuggle over 4,500 cartons of contraband cigarettes

(Top) An ICA officer detected anomalies in the scanned image of the bowser truck and alerted Singapore Customs. Singapore Customs officers conducted a follow-up operation at Tuas View Crescent. (Bottom) A total of 4,567 cartons and 80 packets of duty
(Top) An ICA officer detected anomalies in the scanned image of the bowser truck and alerted Singapore Customs. Singapore Customs officers conducted a follow-up operation at Tuas View Crescent. (Bottom) A total of 4,567 cartons and 80 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized in the operation.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS
Three men, all Indian nationals, were seen transferring cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from the bowser truck to another truck.
Three men, all Indian nationals, were seen transferring cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from the bowser truck to another truck.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

SINGAPORE - Four men have been arrested for trying to smuggle more than 4,500 cartons of contraband cigarettes from Malaysia into Singapore.

The incident occurred in the wee hours of Sunday (Jan 28) at the Woodlands Checkpoint, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Singapore Customs said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

ICA was monitoring the entry of a Malaysia-registered bowser truck, which was suspected to be delivering contraband cigarettes.

At about 3.45am on Sunday, an ICA officer directed the truck, which was driven by a Malaysian man, for inspection.

During the inspection, the officer noticed anomalies in the scanned image of the bowser and immediately alerted Singapore Customs.

Singapore Customs officers conducted a follow-up operation at Tuas View Crescent, where two Singapore-registered trucks were parked next to the bowser truck.

Three men - all Indian nationals - were seen alighting from one of the trucks and transferring goods from the bowser to the other truck.

The trio were arrested immediately, while the Malaysian driver was arrested that same day at the Tuas Checkpoint.

The three trucks were seized along with the contraband cigarettes. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax evaded amounted to about $355,020 and $26,310 respectively.

Investigations are ongoing.

Buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, possessing or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are 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.