Ex-trading company director fined more than $1.95m for importing duty-unpaid liquor

Singapore Customs officers found duty-unpaid beer in Qi Shuai’s company premises. He was fined more than $1.95 million for importing duty-unpaid beer and rice wine. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS
Singapore Customs officers found duty-unpaid beer in Qi Shuai’s company premises. He was fined more than $1.95 million for importing duty-unpaid beer and rice wine. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

A former company director was fined more than $1.95 million for importing duty-unpaid beer and rice wine.

Qi Shuai, 28, pleaded guilty on Monday to six charges of importing, possessing and dealing in duty-unpaid beer and rice wine.

The Singaporean was the director of wholesale trading company Tita Logistics at the time. He also pleaded guilty to one charge of unauthorised breaking of a Singapore Customs seal.

The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded on the 28,406 bottles and 13,193 cans of duty-unpaid beer and 9,165 bottles of duty-unpaid rice wine exceeded $198,000, said Singapore Customs on Tuesday.

The customs enforcement agency began investigations into the company in 2012. Qi had declared that a container he had imported was carrying soft drinks, instant noodles and vinegar. The container arrived at Pasir Panjang Terminal on May 26 that year.

If Qi is unable to pay the fine, he would have to serve 29 months and three weeks in jail.

"There will be no let-up in Singapore Customs' enforcement efforts against those who try to evade duties on liquor products," said Singapore Customs Trade Investigation Branch head Wan Boon Oon. "Offenders will be caught and dealt with severely."

Importing, 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 20 times the amount of duty and GST evaded for duty unpaid goods involving beer or wines.

Under Regulation 16(4) of the Customs (Container) Regulations, it is an offence for any person who does not have prior permission of Singapore Customs, to tamper with, open, break, alter or remove any lock, or seal used to seal a container.