Six-man contraband cigarette distribution ring foiled by authorities

A contraband cigarette distribution ring has been broken up by the Singapore Customs and the Police.

Six men were arrested and the two vans used to transport the boxes of contraband were seized in two operations mounted on Aug 4 and July 28. A total of 2,399 cartons and eight packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes worth more than $269,000 were seized. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to almost $230,000.

The operation on July 28 took place at Jalan Raja Udang. It saw officers from both agencies interdicting a van used to convey the cigarettes, and raiding a condominium unit, where a Singaporean man was arrested. Some 1,200 cartons and eight packets of contraband cigarettes were recovered from the van and the unit.

The second joint operation at Pandan Road on Aug 4 saw five other members of the distribution ring being nabbed. Another van was also interdicted, and 1,199 cartons of contraband cigarettes were recovered from it.

Investigations revealed that one of the syndicate members had sought the assistance of a shipyard's night watchman, Sumon Chandra Das Gonesh Chandra Das, a Bangladeshi national, to use the premises as the syndicate's collection point for the cigarettes. For dealing with contraband cigarettes, Sumon was sentenced by the court on Monday to 15 months' jail.

Investigations are ongoing for the other five Singaporean men.