SINGAPORE - A 35-year-old Malaysian man was caught smuggling more than 6,800 sachets of chewing tobacco via the Woodlands Checkpoint on Tuesday (June 19).
An Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer noticed that the man appeared nervous and had avoided eye contact when he arrived at the checkpoint in his car, ICA said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
Sensing something amiss, officers conducted further checks and found a total of 6,821 sachets of chewing tobacco hidden in modified compartments in the vehicle, including under the front passenger floor mat, in the rear boot and inside the door panels.
The case is being investigated by the Health Sciences Authority, ICA said.
In its Facebook post, ICA said it will continue to conduct security checks to prevent smuggling attempts.
"Our borders are our first line of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security," it added.
In July 2017, a man was jailed for four weeks for importing almost 5,000 sachets of chewing tobacco worth an estimated $9,200.
This was the first time anyone had been prosecuted under the amended Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, which includes a ban on emerging tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco.
The amended Act came into force in August 2016.
Those convicted of importing, distributing or sell chewing tobacco products can be jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000 for the first offence.
Repeat offenders face double those penalties, and any chewing tobacco imported will be confiscated.