SINGAPORE - At first glance, the plump, gold ingot-wielding figurines look like the benevolent smiling Chinese God of Fortune.
But officers from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) were not easily taken in when carrying out X-ray checks.
They discovered a total of 11,285 cartons and 7,685 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes found hidden inside the figurines on a Malaysia-registered lorry at Woodlands Checkpoint on Wednesday (Jan 13).
In a Facebook post on Saturday on how the smuggling attempt of the contraband cigarettes was foiled, ICA said its officers noticed anomalies in the X-ray images of Chinese New Year-related figurines transported by a Malaysian lorry entering Singapore.
"This method of concealment is a cause for concern as similar methods may be used by people with ill intent to smuggle security items into Singapore," said ICA, which has referred the case to Singapore Customs for further investigations.
"The ICA will continue to conduct security checks on passengers, goods and vehicles so as to safeguard Singapore's security."