5 arrested for dealing with over 18,000 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes

A lorry was found to contain nearly 16,000 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes packed in styrofoam boxes, with a follow-up operation at fish farms yielding more cigarettes.
A lorry was found to contain nearly 16,000 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes packed in styrofoam boxes, with a follow-up operation at fish farms yielding more cigarettes. PHOTOS: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS/POLICE

SINGAPORE - A two-day joint operation by Singapore Customs and the Police Coast Guard (PCG) has yielded the arrest of four men and a women who dealt with a total of 18,048 duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Singapore Customs officials had first intercepted a lorry last Wednesday (July 13) afternoon in Bukit Batok Street 31, in which they found 15,960 packets of cigarettes stored in styrofoam boxes.

The driver, a 56-year-old man, was arrested and his lorry seized.

Investigations subsequently revealed that the boxes were loaded onto the lorry at Changi Creek from a boat registered to a coastal fish farm off Pulau Ubin.

Acting on this piece of information, PCG's intelligence and Loyang region officers identified the farm and mounted a joint operation with Singapore Customs in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Two other fish farms were also raided.

The raids led to the recovery of 2,088 packets of cigarettes similarly stored in styrofoam boxes, as well as the seizure of a boat.


The boat that was seized from raids at three fish farms. PHOTOS: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS/POLICE

A 51-year-old man, two men aged 32 and a 50-year-old woman were also arrested at the fish farms.

The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) involved exceeded S$154,000, said Singapore Customs and the Singapore Police Force in a joint press release.

They warned that the buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious 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.