Wholesaler fined $1 million and jailed for eight months for tobacco offences

SINGAPORE -For dealing with tobacco without a valid import and wholesale licence, and for storing duty unpaid tobacco, a 46-year-old man was sentenced to eight months' jail and fined about $1.01 million last week.

He pleaded guilty to 20 charges of the wholesale of tobacco without a valid licence, and another two charges of storing duty-unpaid tobacco. In total, 43 other charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Ng Teck Beng's illegal dealings were uncovered after officers from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and Singapore Customs raided two units in Golden Mile Complex in April last year following a tip-off, said the agencies in joint press release on Tuesday (Dec 15).

A total 11,375 pouches, 51 slabs, and more than 100kg of duty-unpaid "ang hoon", a type of tobacco, were seized from the two units. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded exceeded $35,110.

Investigations showed that Ng, a repeat offender, used the premises in Golden Mile Complex to deal in duty-unpaid "ang hoon".

Ng was the sole proprietor of Wei Teck Distribution, and was issued a tobacco import and wholesale licence in 2005. But he was convicted in April 2013 of possessing of duty-unpaid tobacco. His licence, which was suspended by HSA for six months, subsequently expired.

Despite that, Ng continued to supply more than 65,000 pieces of "ang hoon" to other business entities between December 2013 and March last year.

Those with information on the supply of tobacco products without a valid licence can call HSA's Tobacco Regulation Branch on 6684 2036 or 6684 2037 during office hours.

If they have information on smuggling activities or evasion of customs duty or GST, they can call Singapore Customs on 1800-2330000 or email customs_intelligence@customs.gov.sg.

limyihan@sph.com.sg