Lorry driver arrested for smuggling 5,600 cartons of contraband cigarettes into S'pore

The duty-unpaid cigarettes were hidden in boxes and concealed inside the fibre sponge mattresses that the lorry was carrying.
The duty-unpaid cigarettes were hidden in boxes and concealed inside the fibre sponge mattresses that the lorry was carrying.PHOTOS: ICA

SINGAPORE - A Malaysian lorry driver was arrested on Thursday (Aug 29) for smuggling nearly 5,600 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore. The evaded duty and tax amounted to more than $580,000 in total.

At around 5.45am on Thursday, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Singapore Customs officers stopped a Singapore-bound Malaysia-registered lorry for checks at Tuas Checkpoint. During the checks, ICA officers discovered a total of 5,599 cartons and nine packets of assorted duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden in boxes and concealed inside the fibre sponge mattresses that the lorry was carrying.

The 30-year-old Malaysian driver was arrested, the ICA said in a statement on Friday.

The total duty and goods and services tax evaded was $540,570 and $39,560 respectively.

The case has been handed over to the Singapore Customs for further investigations.

Similar methods of concealment may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives into Singapore, the ICA said, adding that it will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent such smuggling attempts.