Contraband cigarette distribution ring busted in Siglap

Contraband cigarettes worth over $42,300 were seized in an operation by Singapore Customs on May 31. Singapore Customs has busted a contraband cigarette distribution ring which operated out of an estate in Siglap. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS
Contraband cigarettes worth over $42,300 were seized in an operation by Singapore Customs on May 31. Singapore Customs has busted a contraband cigarette distribution ring which operated out of an estate in Siglap. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

SINGAPORE - Singapore Customs has busted a contraband cigarette distribution ring which operated out of an estate in Siglap.

Officers seized 394 cartons and 35 packets worth more than $42,000 - along with a locally-registered private bus which was allegedly used to transport them.

Acting on a tip-off they also arrested five Chinese work permit holders in an operation on May 31. Guo Peiying, 26, has been jailed for four months while Shi Zhenyuan, 24, was fined $5,800. If he cannot pay it he will face 20 days in prison in default. Court proceedings are ongoing for the remaining three men.

At about 2.50pm, officers saw Miao Wei, 39 drive the bus into Fidelio Street in Opera Estate. Miao and his passenger, Xu Renfeng, 29, removed five canvas bags from it and headed to a terrace house at the adjoining Ernani Street, where they handed them to Wang Guangzhen, 26.

Officers arrested the trio then raided the house and bus. Contraband cigarettes were also found in the rooms of Guo and Shi, who were tenants in the house.

In a statement on Tuesday, Singapore Customs said investigations had established that Wang had ordered the duty-unpaid cigarettes from Xu, who recruited Miao to deliver the cigarettes using his company's bus. Wang had intended to sell the contraband cigarettes at a profit. The duty and Goods and Services Tax evaded from the cigarettes exceeded $33,800.

joycel@sph.com.sg