8 men held, over 5,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized

A total of 5,120 cartons and four packets of contraband cigarettes were found in a motor workshop in an industrial building in Kaki Bukit Avenue 4. A Singapore-registered truck that earlier entered workshop was also seized.
A total of 5,120 cartons and four packets of contraband cigarettes were found in a motor workshop in an industrial building in Kaki Bukit Avenue 4. A Singapore-registered truck that earlier entered workshop was also seized.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

Eight men were arrested and more than 5,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized in an operation by Singapore Customs on Tuesday.

The total duty and goods and services tax (GST) evaded amounted to about $439,280 and $32,180 respectively, Singapore Customs said yesterday. The five Singaporeans and three Malaysians are aged between 21 and 59 years.

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 seized.

Singapore Customs officers arrested six men in the workshop and another two at the Woodlands Checkpoint while they were attempting to leave Singapore.

Aside from the truck in the workshop, authorities also seized 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.

Singapore Customs said dealing in duty-unpaid goods is a serious offence 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2018, with the headline '8 men held, over 5,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized'. Print Edition | Subscribe