4 men arrested for evading over $50,000 in taxes and duties on cigarettes

Three Singapore Customs operations were conducted from May 16 to 18 in Pandan Loop, Toa Payoh East and Canberra Road. PHOTOS: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

SINGAPORE – Four men have been arrested in three Singapore Customs operations across the island, with 436 cartons and 745 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes seized.

Three Singaporeans and a Chinese national, aged 23 to 54, were arrested, with the duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounting to about $54,170, the agency said in a statement on Friday.

The three operations were conducted from May 16 to 18 in Pandan Loop, Toa Payoh East and Canberra Road.

In the Pandan Loop operation, Customs officers spotted a Singaporean man, 54, carrying black trash bags from a car towards the lift lobby of an industrial building.

Upon investigation, officers uncovered 142 cartons and 180 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in the trash bags and in the car. They then found another 100 cartons and 20 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in a unit of the industrial building.

Separately, Customs officers checked on a Chinese national, 42, and a car in a Toa Payoh East car park and uncovered 194 cartons and 316 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in canvas bags in the boot of the car.

In the third operation, Customs officers checked two Singaporeans, both aged 23, at a multi-storey car park at Canberra Road after they saw one of them passing a red plastic bag to the other, who was on a motorcycle.

Some 229 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found and seized, along with three vehicles.

Court proceedings against all four men are ongoing.

Buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, possessing or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the GST Act, the agency warned.

Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed for up to six years, or both. Vehicles used in such offences are also liable to be forfeited. 

Members of the public who have information on smuggling activities or evasion of duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-233-0000 or e-mail customs_intelligence@customs.gov.sg to report these illegal activities.

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