Two handbag retailers fined for GST evasion

SINGAPORE - Two handbag retailers have been fined for fraudulently evading Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Both had under-declared the value of their imported goods in fake invoices submitted to Singapore Customs.

Tang Wai Chuen Adrian, 42, who owns online store MBE Trading and Services, was fined $95,000.

Between January 2013 and June last year, he imported 3,390 branded handbags from the United States, Italy, and Malaysia.

He had under-declared the the value of his imported goods and as a result, paid $55,606 too little in GST.

Tang pleaded guilty to 10 charges. Another 70 were taken into consideration.

In a similar case, 60-year-old Ong Siew Hong was caught for submitting fake invoices of goods she had imported. She evaded paying about $7,360 in GST.

Ong, who runs branded handbags shop Be Bonita Fashion and Apparels, was found to have imported 2,024 branded handbags and 1,505 pieces of accessories such as wristlets, phone cases and toys on 13 occasions.

She pleaded guilty to four charges and was fined $42,000. Another nine charges were taken into consideration.

Mr Yeo Sew Meng, assistant director-general of intelligence and investigation at Singapore Customs, said: "All cases of revenue evasion and violations of Customs regulations are investigated. Anyone found involved in abetting the fraudulent evasion of duty and GST will be dealt with severely."

Those found guilty of fraudulent evasion of duties or GST may be jailed and fined up to 20 times the amount of duty and GST evaded. Offenders will also have to make good the duty and GST that was underpaid.

Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-2330000 or email: customs_intelligence@customs.gov.sg.