More smokers were caught last year for buying contraband cigarettes compared to 2011. The total number offenders in 2012 was 28,502, up from 26,164 in 2011, and a sharp spike from 19,816 in 2009, said the Singapore Customs in a media briefing on Friday morning.
The cigarette offenders include those caught for buying or selling contraband cigarettes both inland and at the checkpoints.
Mr Lee Boon Chong, senior assistant director-general of the Intelligence and Investigation Division of Singapore Customs, said there is a "persistent street demand" for contraband cigarettes. He added that Singapore Customs would continue to intensify its enforcement, implement regulatory changes and reach out to the public with a seven-month long campaign.
Those caught with duty-unpaid goods can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty evaded, or face a jail term of up to six years, or both.