Contraband cigarettes found hidden in loaves of bread at Woodlands Checkpoint

Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers found 32 packets of the cigarettes hidden in loaves of bread at Woodlands Checkpoint on Dec 8, 2019. PHOTO: IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A man's efforts to smuggle contraband cigarettes into the country went stale on Sunday morning (Dec 8) as Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers found 32 packets of the cigarettes hidden in loaves of bread at Woodlands Checkpoint.

The case, which involves a 52-year-old Malaysian man, was referred to Singapore Customs for further investigation.

ICA said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that its officers observed the man behaving suspiciously at the checkpoint's arrival bus hall.

The man was carrying four loaves of bread.

The officers conducted further checks on him and found the duty-unpaid cigarettes sandwiched between slices of bread.

Singapore Customs told The Straits Times that the total duty and goods and services tax (GST) evaded amounted to $274.56 and $20.25 respectively.

The man was charged in court and fined $4,000, in default three weeks' imprisonment, on Tuesday.

This method of concealment is a cause for concern as similar methods might be used by people with ill intent to smuggle items into Singapore, said ICA.

This is the latest reported incident in which attempts to smuggle items into the country have been foiled.

More than 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes were seized at Tuas Checkpoint by ICA officers over three days in October.

More than $310,000 in duty and GST were evaded in total.

In separate cases in September, ICA officers caught five men - three Singaporeans, a Malaysian and a Russian - attempting to bring contraband cigarettes into Singapore by hiding them under their clothes.

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