Customs seizes third largest haul of contraband cigarettes since 2009

Customs officers seized its third largest haul of contraband cigarettes during an operation in May.

On May 19, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority officers stopped a 20-foot container at the Tanjong Pagar Scanning Station for routine checks and found cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes. The vehicle was delivering a consignment that had been declared as floor and wall tiles.

Customs officers kept an eye on the container overnight and the following day, they arrested four men who attempted to unload the cigarettes and seized 14,400 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

The authorities mounted three more operations at Changi Airfreight Centre and Keppel Distripark that month. In total, they seized 17,601 cartons of contraband cigarettes in four operations over eight days. The total street value of the cigarettes exceeded $1.8 million, and the total duty and goods and services tax (GST) evaded was more than $1.5 million. Investigations are ongoing. If found guilty, offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or be jailed for up to six years.