SINGAPORE - A 33-year-old Chinese national was arrested on Jan 29 with 2,300 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden in boxes labelled "dried noodles", said Singapore Customs on Wednesday (Feb 3).
He was arrested during an operation on Jan 29 at a back lane between Tuas South Street 1 and Street 3.
Customs officers saw the man walking towards a van that they suspected held illegal cigarettes, and moved in when he unlocked the door. Inspecting the van, they found brown carton boxes labelled "dried noodles" with duty-unpaid cigarettes inside.
The man was arrested on the spot.
Investigations by Singapore Customs revealed that the man was engaged by another man, who is currently unidentified, to deliver duty-unpaid cigarettes to buyers using the van.
The duty and goods and services tax (GST) evaded on the 2,300 cartons amounted to about $196,420 and $15,900 respectively. The van was also seized.
Court proceedings against the man are ongoing, added Singapore Customs.
Buying, selling and otherwise dealing with or possessing duty-unpaid goods can entail fines of up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, and/or jailed for up to six years for convicted offenders. Vehicles used in connection to these offences can also be seized.
Singapore Customs added that members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or GST can report it to Singapore Customs at 1800-2330000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.