Contraband cigarettes worth $1.5 million seized from truck at Woodlands Checkpoint

SINGAPORE - The truck was supposed to be carrying nothing but packs of potato chips when it tried to pass through Customs at the Woodlands Checkpoint last Friday.

Instead, immigration officers found 14,519 cartons of contraband cigarettes hidden among 24 pallets of chips - one of the largest hauls of illegal cigarettes at the Checkpoint since 2003 - during a routine check.

The estimated value of the duty-unpaid cigarettes was about $1.5 million. The evaded duty and goods and services tax involved amounted to about $1.1 million and $100,000 respectively.

The 36-year-old Malaysian driver, along with the Malaysia-registered vehicle and the contraband, were handed over to Singapore Customs for further investigation.