SINGAPORE - A former logistics coordinator was jailed for two years and eight months on Tuesday (March 7) for assault and dealing with contraband cigarettes.
In December 2015 and November last year, Guan Qiuqiang, 29, illegally dealt with 525,920 sticks of cigarettes in 2,624 cartons and 56 packets.
They were worth more $292,390.36. In all, the duty unpaid for the cigarettes was $204,056.96 and he did not pay Goods and Services Tax totalling $20,467.32.
Guan pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three counts of dealing with the contraband cigarettes and one count of causing hurt.
Three other counts of dealing with the cigarettes were taken into consideration during sentencing.
On Dec 22, 2015, Guan and two friends planned to meet a Chinese national at the void deck of Block 412, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, to buy contraband cigarettes from him.
But on the way there, Guan decided to steal the items from the 27-year-old seller instead.
When they reached their destination, one of Guan's friends tried to scare the man away so that his companions could steal his wares.
The Chinese national ran away but returned soon afterwards and tried to snap Guan's picture with his mobile phone.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Kee said: "In response, the accused tried to prevent the victim from taking his photo by pushing the victim's phone away.
"With intention to cause hurt, the accused then punched the victim once on the left side of his face."
The seller called the police and officers who turned up arrested Guan after they found 181 cartons and 40 packets of contraband cigarettes at the void deck.
They arrested him but he continued dealing with contraband cigarettes while he was out on bail.
On Nov 11, last year, Customs officers caught him dealing with 1,982 cartons and 16 packets of the cigarettes at Buroh Crescent near Boon Lay.
Five days later, officers caught him dealing with 461 cartons of them at a substation at Yishun Avenue 11.
The court heard, Guan had ordered the cigarettes from a supplier in China and he intended to sell them for a profit. There were no details on how he ordered the cigarettes.
Customs Prosecuting Officer Josiah Zee said the Chinese national has absconded and a warrant of arrest has been issued against him.
For assault, Guan could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.
And for dealing with contraband cigarettes, he could have been jailed up to three years and fined for each charge.