More than 250 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized at Woodlands Checkpoint

The contraband cigarettes were found stuffed in the bonnet, spare tyre, door panels, rear passenger seat and front floorboard.
The contraband cigarettes were found stuffed in the bonnet, spare tyre, door panels, rear passenger seat and front floorboard. PHOTO: ICA

SINGAPORE - More than 250 cartons of contraband cigarettes were seized at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Sunday (Dec 27) morning.

A 25-year-old Malaysian driver who was trying to enter Singapore had requested to make a u-turn back to Malaysia at the arrival forward check area.

He told officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) that his car had broken down.

Sensing something amiss, ICA officers conducted a search of the vehicle, where they discovered contraband cigarettes hidden in a spare tyre in the car boot.

Further checks uncovered more contraband cigarettes in various parts of the car, such as the engine compartment, front and rear bumpers, door panels, modified floor boards and under the passenger seats.

The male driver was accompanied by a 22-year-old female Malaysian passenger.

The 253 cartons of contraband cigarettes recovered from the vehicle amounted to an evasion of about $19,600 in duty tax and $1,900 in Goods and Service Tax (GST).

The seized cigarettes and vehicle were handed over to the Singapore Customs for investigations, the ICA said in a release on Monday, adding that the vehicle is liable to be forfeited.

"Our borders are our first line of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security. The security checks are critical to our nation's security," said the ICA.

"The same methods of concealment used by contraband smugglers may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attack in Singapore."