$6.6 million fine and jail for stashing illegal cigarettes

A 61-year-old Singaporean man was hit with a $6.6 million fine and a 38-month jail sentence last Thursday for dealing in duty-unpaid cigarettes. If he cannot pay the fine, Abdul Rashid Abdullah will have to serve an extra 22 months on his sentence, Singapore Customs said in a statement yesterday.

This is the highest fine handed down by the State Courts so far this year for duty-unpaid cigarette-related offences, said a Singapore Customs spokesman.

Last Wednesday, Singapore Customs received a tip-off about contraband cigarettes being stored in a terrace house in Upper Paya Lebar Road. Customs officers found 2,400 cartons of cigarettes kept in brown boxes and hidden in wooden frames. The duty and goods and services tax (GST) on the cigarettes came up to about $204,990.

Investigations showed that the house was rented by Abdul Rashid to stash the cigarettes.

He was convicted of a similar offence in 2008 and sentenced to three years in jail.

Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, and/or jailed for up to six years, said Singapore Customs.

Annabeth Leow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline '$6.6 million fine and jail for stashing illegal cigarettes'. Print Edition | Subscribe