Ex-air stewardess fined $36,000 for smuggling duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore

A former air stewardess was fined $36,000 on Wednesday for smuggling duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore.

Shahryanty Binte Zam Zam, 24, was stopped for a routine check by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers manning the customs channel at Changi Airport Terminal 2 on Dec 5 last year.

Shahryanty was returning to Singapore after her flight duty, and told the ICA officers that she did not have any dutiable items to declare. But upon checking her luggage, ICA officers found 19 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes of various brands in her bags.

She had intended to smuggle duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore for her friend Mohamad Shidique Bin Mohd Shariff, 24, to sell to his friends at a profit, investigations by Singapore Customs found.

Ten cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were subsequently found and recovered from Mohamad Shidique's flat at Marsiling Drive. In total, 29 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes worth more than $2,700 were seized. The duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded was more than $2,200.

All tobacco products and cigarettes, including those with the Singapore Duty-Paid Cigarette mark, are subject to duty and GST when brought in by travellers to Singapore.

Under the Customs Act and the GST Act, anyone who fails to declare them can be fined up to $10,000 or 20 times the amount of duty and GST, whichever is higher, and/or jailed for up to three years.

Anyone found guilty of buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, and/or jailed for up to six years.