ICA foils three smuggling attempts in a day; seizes $177,000 in cigarettes and chewing tobacco

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) foiled three different smuggling attempts on Monday, July 18, 2015.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) foiled three different smuggling attempts on Monday, July 18, 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers thwarted three different attempts of illegal smuggling of contraband cigarettes and chewing tobacco at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Monday.

The first incident occurred at 8.25am when a 43-year-old Malaysian motorcyclist was directed for checks. ICA officers found 1,080 sachets of chewing tobacco hidden in two plastic bags in the luggage box of his motorcycle. The man had another two packets of contraband cigarettes in his pocket.

At about 12pm on the same day, ICA officers uncovered 124 cartons and four packets of contraband cigarettes from the modified fuel tank and backseat of a Malaysian-registered car. Its driver was a 29-year-old Malaysian man.

In the third case at 11.30pm, a Malaysia-registered lorry carrying electric motors and carbon steel was found to have 31 sealed packages containing 1,550 cartons of contraband cigarettes in its midst. The lorry was driven by a 43-year-old Malaysian man.

In all, the chewing tobacco and duty-unpaid cigarettes are worth more than $177,000. The three men, the items, and the vehicles were handed to Singapore Customs for investigations.

In its statement, the ICA said the method used by smugglers to conceal their goods may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attacks in Singapore.

"Our borders are our first line of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security. The security checks are critical to our nation's security. The ICA will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle in undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contraband."