Man slapped with $6.6m fine and jail term for duty-unpaid cigarettes

Brown boxes containing duty-unpaid cigarettes were found outside the main door of the terraced house.
Brown boxes containing duty-unpaid cigarettes were found outside the main door of the terraced house.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS
The terraced house in Upper Paya Lebar Road was used to store duty-unpaid cigarettes.
The terraced house in Upper Paya Lebar Road was used to store duty-unpaid cigarettes.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

SINGAPORE - A 61-year-old Singaporean man was slapped with a $6.6 million fine and a 38-month jail sentence on Thursday (Sept 1) for dealing in duty-unpaid cigarettes.

The $6.6 million fine is the highest fine handed down by the State Courts so far this year for duty-unpaid cigarette-related offences, said a Singapore Customs spokesman.

If he cannot pay the fine, Abdul Rashid Abdullah will have to serve an extra 22 months on his sentence.

On Wednesday (Aug 31), Singapore Customs received a tip-off about contraband cigarettes being stored in a terrace house in Upper Paya Lebar Road.

Customs officers found 2,400 cartons of cigarettes kept in brown boxes and hidden in wooden frames.

The duty and goods and services tax (GST) on the cigarettes came up to about $204,990.

Investigations showed that the house was rented by Abdul Rashid to stash the cigarettes.


A total of 2,400 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized from the terraced house. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

He was convicted of a similar offence in 2008 and sentenced to three years in jail.

Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, and/or jailed for up to six years, said Singapore Customs.

The minimum court fine for first-time and repeat offenders of tobacco-related offences is $2,000 and $4,000 respectively. Repeat offenders who are caught with more than two kg of tobacco products will also face mandatory jail sentences.