2 bids to smuggle in chewing tobacco foiled

Two attempts to smuggle chewing tobacco into Singapore through the Tuas Checkpoint were foiled over the Christmas holiday.

A total of 28,769 sachets of duty-unpaid chewing tobacco weighing more than 250kg were seized. The total duty and GST evaded amounted to $82,840.

The first attempt on Christmas Eve morning involved a Malaysia-registered truck driven by a 51-year-old Malaysian man. The trailer was directed for further checks during which Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers found 162kg of chewing tobacco wrapped in black and white plastic bags in the sleeping compartment behind the driver seat.

The second attempt made at 4.15pm on Saturday was by a 37-year-old Malaysian man driving an empty lorry.

Officers found 97kg of chewing tobacco hidden in a modified compartment under a floorboard.

The men, chewing tobacco and vehicles were handed over to the Singapore Customs for investigation. The vehicles used in the commission of such offences are liable to be forfeited.

The ICA said in a statement that it will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle in undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contraband goods.

"The same methods of concealment used by contraband smugglers may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attacks in Singapore," it said. "Our borders are our first line of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security. The security checks are critical to our nation's security."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2015, with the headline '2 bids to smuggle in chewing tobacco foiled'. Print Edition | Subscribe