Man jailed, fined $276k for evading GST for goods imported

SINGAPORE - A man who evaded paying goods and services tax (GST) was jailed for five weeks and fined $275,860.

Zhao Kun, 38, the director of Maxtech Plus and sole proprietor of Vam International Group, pleaded guilty earlier this month to five charges of evading GST, falsifying documents and giving false information to Singapore Customs.

He was sentenced on Monday (March 22), with four similar charges taken into consideration.

The Singapore PR under-declared the value of goods imported by Maxtech and Vam between 2016 and 2018, evading about $64,200 in GST.

He told an employee from Vam to use suppressed values of goods when taking up the import permits from the Singapore Customs.

Zhao also provided falsified documents and false information to officers on multiple occasions.

In December 2016, he learnt that Maxtech would be audited, and so falsified 95 delivery orders and 29 purchase orders with suppressed values.

He gave these documents to Sin Chuan Chew, 41, the then co-director of Maxtech, who submitted the documents to Customs.

Sin was fined $7,000 in June last year.

In May 2017, Customs officers found receipts which suggested that the value of some goods had been under-declared, following an inspection of goods consigned to Maxtech.

Zhao then told an employee from Vam to falsify an invoice with an inflated quantity of goods and at lower value in an attempt to cover up his offences.

In October 2017, Zhao was questioned by a Customs officer about the under-declaration of the value of goods imported by Maxtech.

But Zhao lied by claiming that an overseas freight forwarder was responsible.

Further investigations, however, uncovered his lies and falsification of the documents.

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 falsifying documents or abetting such activities may be jailed for up to a year, or fined up to $10,000, or both.

Any person who knowingly gives false information may be jailed for up to a year or fined up to $5,000 or both.

Anyone with information on smuggling activities or GST evasion should call the Singapore Customs hotline at 1800-233-0000, or e-mail customs_intelligence@customs.gov.sg to report these illegal activities.