SINGAPORE - Eight men were arrested and more than 5,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized in an operation by Singapore Customs on Tuesday (April 24).
The total duty and goods and services tax (GST) evaded amounted to about $439,280 and $32,180 respectively, Singapore Customs said in a statement on Thursday.
The group of five Singaporeans and three Malaysians are aged between 21 and 59.
According to Singapore Customs, officers on Tuesday kept watch on a motor workshop in an industrial building in Kaki Bukit Avenue 4, which was suspected to have been a storage and distribution point for contraband cigarettes.
They subsequently searched the workshop and uncovered a total of 5,120 cartons and four packets of contraband cigarettes.
A Singapore-registered truck that earlier entered workshop was also found.
Singapore Customs officers arrested six men in the workshop and another two were nabbed at the Woodlands Checkpoint while they were attempting to leave Singapore.
They also seized the truck found in the workshop, and another two Malaysia-registered cars, which were suspected to have been used in the delivery of the contraband cigarettes to different parts of Singapore.
Investigations are ongoing.
In its statement, Singapore Customs said that buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the GST Act.
Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years.
Repeat offenders who are caught with more than 2kg of tobacco products will also face mandatory imprisonment.