Malaysian man and two female passengers jailed for smuggling contraband cigarettes

Singapore Customs officers seized the Malaysian-registered car (above) that was used to smuggle duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore at Woodlands Checkpoint. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS
Singapore Customs officers seized the Malaysian-registered car (above) that was used to smuggle duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore at Woodlands Checkpoint. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS
Duty-unpaid cigarettes were found hidden in various modified compartments of the Malaysian-registered car on  Aug 15, 2014. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS
Duty-unpaid cigarettes were found hidden in various modified compartments of the Malaysian-registered car on  Aug 15, 2014. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS
A total of 298 cartons and 210 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were recovered from the car. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS
A total of 298 cartons and 210 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were recovered from the car. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

SINGAPORE - Malaysian Ching Siong Huat, 47, who attempted to drive into Singapore with contraband cigarettes hidden in his car, was sentenced on Aug 19 to seven months' jail.

Both his female passengers, Joo Mei Suan, 43, and her 18-year-old daughter Ler Kia Ling, who were also involved in the smuggling attempt, were each sentenced to six months' jail.

The trio was arrested on Aug 15, according to a statement by Singapore Customs and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. A total of 298 cartons and 210 packets of contraband cigarettes worth more than $34,000 were seized. The duty and Goods and Services Tax evaded exceeded $27,100. A Malaysian-registered car was also seized.

Investigations revealed that Ching was engaged to drive the car into Singapore. He recruited Joo and Ler to act as "passengers" as he assumed this would minimise suspicion.

In the first seven months of this year, Singapore Customs seized 134 vehicles that were used to smuggle contraband cigarettes into Singapore. In comparison, last year 146 vehicles were seized.