Two jailed for diverting duty-unpaid cigarettes meant for export to the local market

An operations manager and a driver formerly employed by a licensed warehouse company were sentenced to 56 months' jail and a $25,000 fine each for their roles in diverting duty-unpaid cigarettes meant for export to the local market.

Ong June Yong, 39, and Kwek Ngo Tee, 52, each pleaded guilty to 30 charges of making untrue declarations, falsifying permits and invoices, and conveying and dealing in uncustomed goods.

They had evaded more than $865,000 worth of duties and goods and services tax (GST).

Another 90 charges were also taken into consideration in the sentencing. Ong was sentenced on Monday and Kwek was sentenced last December.

The warehouse company that Ong and Kwek supplied provisions, including duty-free liquor and tobacco products, to cruise ships and other commercial vessels.

Such goods stored in licensed warehouses can have their duty and GST suspended until the goods are exported.

The minimum court fines for first-time and repeat offenders of tobacco-related offences are $2,000 and $4,000 respectively.