SINGAPORE - A former businessman who underdeclared the value of luxury handbags and accessories imported into Singapore to evade paying the full goods and services tax was fined a total of $133,000 on Friday.
Ho Theam Guan, 57, was director of Emer Asia when he fraudulently evaded GST by providing invoices with incorrect GST payments on goods imported from the United States. He committed 65 offences over two years from 2010 to 2012.
He pleaded guilty to 20 counts.The remaining 45 charges were considered during his sentencing.
Emer Asia was in the business of arranging for the import of luxury handbags and accessories for local importers, earning a commission of about 3 per cent and charging a fee for rendering freight forwarding services.
Investigation showed that sometime in 2010, he came to know Florence Long Siew Fong, then a partner of a local importer of luxury items.
They entered into an arrangement where Ho would help Long to source for luxury items in America and arrange for their import.
Ho would prepare invoices for these items to apply for an import permit with customs and for payment of GST. The value of the items in the invoices would be lower than its actual value, however.
Both knew that the under-declaration on the value of the items would mean that Long could fraudulently evade paying the full GST.
In 2009, the court heard that Ho came to know Mr Daniel Lim Kok Yeow, who was head of merchandising at Reebonz.
They entered into an arrangement whereby Ho would help Reebonz to source for luxury items in the United States and arrange for their import.
Mr Lim did not know that the value of the items shown on the invoices would be lower than the actual value of the items.
Ms Long, 42, who was dealt with earlier, has been fined $31,000 after admitting to five of 15 charges. If Ho, who is an undischarged bankrupt, cannot pay the fines, he will serve a default sentence of 665 days in jail.