Company director fined $434,000 for submitting false information to Singapore Customs

A company director was fined $434,000 on July 9 for submitting false statements and declarations in applications for back-to-back certificates of origin, and import and export permits.
A company director was fined $434,000 on July 9 for submitting false statements and declarations in applications for back-to-back certificates of origin, and import and export permits.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A company director was fined $434,000 on July 9 for submitting false statements and declarations in applications for back-to-back certificates of origin, and import and export permits.

Tok Beng Tong, 42, a Singaporean, pleaded guilty to 58 charges. Another 119 charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing, the Singapore Customs said in a press release on Tuesday (July 14).

Investigations revealed that Tok, who is the director of Interasia SHH, had imported boxes of zippers and sliders from China and subsequently re-exported the goods to various countries in Europe.

However, when applying for export permits, he had falsely declared the country of origin of the goods as Indonesia, despite knowing that the goods originated from China.

Indonesia is part of a European Union scheme, which would allow Tok's customers in Europe to pay lower tariffs when importing the "Indonesia-originated" zippers and sliders from Singapore.

Between August 2009 and March 2011, Tok used certificates of origin which were not meant for his goods to apply for back-to-back preferential certificates of origin from Singapore Customs. A back-to-back preferential certificate of origin is issued by Singapore Customs for the export of goods that originated from other countries out of Singapore.

"Making false statements to obtain certificates of origin and fraudulent import and export permit declarations are serious offences under the Regulation of Imports and Exports Regulations," said Mr Wan Boon Oon, head of Trade Investigation Branch.

"Singapore Customs will clamp down on such illegal activities to uphold Singapore's reputation as a trusted global trade hub," said Mr Wan.

Anyone found guilty of making a false statement under the Regulation of Imports and Exports Regulations, on the first conviction, faces a maximum fine of $100,000 or three times the value of the goods in respect of which the offence was committed, whichever is the greater, or jail for up to two years, or both.