Over 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized at checkpoint

More than 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes were seized at Tuas Checkpoint by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers between last Saturday and Monday.

More than $310,000 in duty and goods and services tax (GST) were evaded in total.

The duty-unpaid cigarettes were concealed in a bus and prime mover, both Malaysia-registered, which were trying to enter Singapore on separate days, said ICA in a statement yesterday.

In both cases, officers noticed anomalies in the scanned images of the vehicles and directed them for further checks.

In the first case last Saturday at around 9.50am, 925 cartons of contraband cigarettes were found hidden in the modified compartment below the bus' floorboard. The bus was driven by a 28-year-old Malaysian man and was ferrying several passengers to Singapore.

In the second case, which took place on Monday at around 1.40am, 2,278 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were hidden in the modified roof compartment of an empty container of the prime mover. The vehicle was driven by a 29-year-old Malaysian man.

In both cases, the drivers were arrested and handed over to Singapore Customs for further investigation. They have also been charged in court.

For both cases, the total amounts of duty and GST evaded were about $291,470 and $21,400 respectively.

Clara Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2019, with the headline 'Over 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized at checkpoint'. Print Edition | Subscribe