$160k fine for GST evasion of $23k

To save on Goods and Services Tax (GST) for goods imported from South Korea, a businessman created fake invoices to show lower import values for the goods.

Between February 2014 and April this year, Nam Jintae, 47, imported goods worth $860,600 from South Korea and evaded almost $53,000 in GST.

Yesterday, the South Korean national, a director of Jennie Trading, was fined $160,000 after admitting to eight of 24 charges of fraudulent evasion of GST amounting to a total of $22,826.

Customs prosecutor Lee Kim Loong said Nam personally dealt with suppliers of the goods and gave instructions to the shipping agent on the importation.

Between February 2014 and July last year, Jennie Trading imported 65,264 items of women's clothes, 24,700 items of plastic bags and 2,300 items of label stickers from South Korea by air via eight import permits.

After Nam had bought the goods, the suppliers would send him the invoices with the import value indicated.

He knew that the import GST payable was based on the actual import values of the goods.

He would pay for the goods through electronic banking, but create fake invoices showing lower import values for the goods.

He then gave the fake invoices to an agent - Sintop International - through his Korean shipping agent, so that Sintop would use these invoices for getting the import permits and declaring the import GST payable.

As a result, he paid GST of $3,130 for eight imports instead of $25,956, fraudulently evading GST totalling $22,826.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2016, with the headline '$160k fine for GST evasion of $23k'. Print Edition | Subscribe