5,600 cartons of cigarettes hidden in lorry from Malaysia

A Malaysian lorry driver was arrested on Thursday for smuggling nearly 5,600 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore. The evaded taxes amounted to more than $580,000 in total.

At around 5.45am on Thursday, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Singapore Customs officers stopped a Singapore-bound, Malaysia-registered lorry for checks at Tuas Checkpoint.

During the checks, ICA officers discovered 5,599 cartons and nine packets of assorted duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden in boxes and concealed inside the fibre sponge mattresses that the lorry was carrying.

The 30-year-old driver was arrested, the ICA said yesterday.

The total duty and goods and services tax evaded was $540,570 and $39,560 respectively.

The case has been handed over to the Singapore Customs for further investigations.

Similar methods of concealment may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives into Singapore, the ICA said, adding that it will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent such smuggling attempts.

Clara Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2019, with the headline '5,600 cartons of cigarettes hidden in lorry from Malaysia'. Print Edition | Subscribe