More than 14,000 cartons of smuggled cigarettes found in gypsum boards

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority seized a total of 14,492 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes (above) and arrested six Malaysian men in a follow-up operation.
The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority seized a total of 14,492 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes (above) and arrested six Malaysian men in a follow-up operation.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

SINGAPORE - More than 14,000 cartons of cigarettes hidden in gypsum boards were seized by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Wednesday (Feb 22).

An officer at the Tanjong Pagar Scanning Station had noticed anomalies in the scanned images of the container, and directed it for scanning on Wednesday at about 6.30am, the authorities said.

The 40-footer container was supposed to contain 16 pallets of gypsum boards. It is understood that the container came from Malaysia.

But when the ICA officers removed the top layers of gypsum board, they found cigarettes concealed within specially hollowed areas of the boards.

Singapore Customs was alerted.

Its officers followed up with an operation and arrested six Malaysian men, aged between 19 and 28, in a warehouse in Tuas South Avenue 10.

A total of 14,492 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized.

The total duty evaded amounted to about $1.1 million, while the Goods and Services Tax (GST) came up to $83,340.

Investigations are ongoing.

Offenders who deal in 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.

Vehicles used can be forfeited.