Owner of flashlight importer Nitecore SG fined $50,000 for evading GST

A shipment of flashlights and accessories valued at $23,336.47 was wrongly declared to be worth less than $400.
A shipment of flashlights and accessories valued at $23,336.47 was wrongly declared to be worth less than $400.PHOTO: NITECORE FLASHLIGHT/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - The owner of a flashlight and lighting equipment importer in Singapore who evaded more than $9,000 in goods and services tax (GST) was fined $50,000 on Wednesday (Sept 8).

Kong Ming Jie, 36, the director of Nitecore Singapore, pleaded guilty to three charges of evading GST and one each of attempting to evade GST and failing to retain trade records.

Another six similar charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Nitecore Singapore is a registered government supplier of military and police items, according to its website.

The Singaporean was found to have under-declared the value of 10 shipments of goods imported by Nitecore Singapore and evaded $9,051 in GST between January and August 2019.

Some of the goods involved were flashlights, monoculars and optical telescopes.

His offences came to light after an inspection by Customs officers on Aug 2, 2019, at the Changi Airfreight Centre.

A shipment of flashlights and accessories valued at $23,336.47 was wrongly declared to be worth less than $400 so that it could be exempted from GST.

Kong was also found to have under-declared the worth of shipments by a large margin. For instance, a shipment worth nearly $8,500 was declared to be around $400.

When asked to produce Nitecore's trade records during investigations, Kong said he had not retained them.

Under the Customs Act, any person involved in evading or attempts to evade GST may be fined up to 20 times the amount evaded.

Those caught making false declarations can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to a year, or both.

Failure to retain records relating to the import and export of taxable goods for a period of not less than five years without reasonable excuse carries a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine and a three-year jail term.