Man caught smuggling 10,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes through Tuas checkpoint

A total of 10,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes hidden in the cement bowser were seized on April 9, 2016.
A total of 10,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes hidden in the cement bowser were seized on April 9, 2016.PHOTO: IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY
The cement bowser used to transport the contraband cigarettes on April 9, 2016.
The cement bowser used to transport the contraband cigarettes on April 9, 2016.PHOTO: IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY

SINGAPORE - A Malaysian man drove a prime mover with an attached cement tanker to the Tuas checkpoint to enter Singapore last Saturday (April 9).

What was inside the 12m-long tanker, or cement bowser, was not cement but thousands of cartons of smuggled cigarettes, the authorities discovered.

The 38-year-old Malaysian was caught trying to smuggle a total of 10,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes through the checkpoint. This amounted to an evasion of about $776,000 and $78,000 in duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) respectively.

The Malaysia-registered vehicle was declared to be carrying cement and had arrived at Tuas checkpoint around 2.45pm, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Singapore Customs in a joint statement on Tuesday (April 12).

Noticing anomalies in scanned images of the goods, ICA officers directed it for further inspection. When they opened the latch of the bowser, officers saw boxes instead of the declared consignment of cement.

The case was handed over to the Singapore Customs for investigation.

Under the Customs Act and the GST Act, offenders caught buying, selling, delivering or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are liable to a fine of up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, or imprisonment for up to six years, or both.

Vehicles used in the commission of such offences may also be forfeited.