18 Vietnamese contraband cigarette peddlers nabbed in nine hours

A total of 18 Vietnamese contraband cigarette peddlers were nabbed in a nine-hour operation by Singapore Customs and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

On April 1, officers arrested three men at Kaki Bukit Road 3 and Tampines Place. They also raided a "nest" used by the Vietnamese peddling ring at an East Coast Parkway chalet where they arrested 15 Vietnamese.

More than 1,020 packets of contraband cigarettes were also recovered from a manhole at Lorong 17 Geylang. A total of 1,539 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes worth more than $15,300 were seized in this operation. The duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded exceeded $12,600.

Cigarette peddlers Nguyen Thanh Tu, 25, and Truong Thanh Tung, 41, were fined $37,000 on April 4 or will have to serve three months' jail if they cannot pay their fine. Seven of the Vietnamese nationals arrested were also referred to the ICA for investigation into immigration-related offences. Court proceedings are still ongoing for the other individuals involved in this peddling ring.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.