SINGAPORE - Singapore Customs seized 5,635 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from a self-storage facility in the north-east of the country on Wednesday (Dec 7).
The total amount of unpaid duty and goods and services taxes amounted to about $437,280 and $44,020 respectively.
Officers monitored a shipment imported from China that was declared as decorative items. The shipment was delivered to the self-storage facility on Wednesday afternoon, Singapore Customs said in a media release on Friday (Dec 9).
Investigations revealed 3,438 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes, hidden in 79 boxes of picture frames.
Further investigations in another unit at the same facility unearthed another 2,197 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
Mr Tok Choon Min, head of the special investigation branch at Singapore Customs, advised operators of self-storage facilities to "exercise proper due diligence in screening persons renting their facilities".
"They should also report any suspected illegal cigarette activities taking place on their premises to Singapore Customs," he said.
Those convicted of buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, and or jailed for up to six years.
Investigations are ongoing.