SINGAPORE - A total of 3,331 cartons and six packets of contraband cigarettes, and 226.6 kg of chewing tobacco have been seized by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the Tuas checkpoint.
In two separate incidents over the weekend, officers found the items hidden in modified compartments of two Malaysia-registered buses.
The first case happened on Saturday (Oct 24), at about 5am, when 2,750 cartons of contraband cigarettes were found in a Malaysia-registered bus driven by a 30-year-old Malaysian man.
According to a media release by the ICA on Tuesday (Oct 27), the contraband cigarettes were found in a modified compartment underneath the vehicle and rear passenger seats, modified air-conditioner ducts and a modified baggage compartment.
The ICA said the second case happened a day later, on Sunday, at about 4pm. Officers found 581 cartons and six packets of contraband cigarettes, and 25,178 sachets or 226.6kg of chewing tobacco, in another Malaysia-registered bus.
This time the illegal items were found in the air-conditioning ducts and speakers of the bus. It was driven by a 38-year-old Malaysian man.
In total, the duty as well as Goods and Services Tax evaded in the two smuggling cases exceeded $326,280 and $29,410 respectively, said the ICA.
The contraband items and vehicles involved in both cases have been handed over to the Singapore Customs for further investigations.
The 30-year-old man involved in the first case has been sentenced to 30 months' jail, while investigations on the second case are ongoing.
The ICA noted that the same method of concealment used by the two smugglers may also be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attacks in Singapore.
It said security checks are critical to Singapore's security and that it will continue to conduct security checks at the checkpoints to prevent smuggling.