More smokers caught for buying contraband cigarettes

More smokers were caught last year for buying contraband cigarettes compared to 2011. The total number offenders in 2012 was 28,502, up from 26,164 in 2011, and a sharp spike from 19,816 in 2009, said the Singapore Customs in a media briefing on Friday morning.

The cigarette offenders include those caught for buying or selling contraband cigarettes both inland and at the checkpoints.

Mr Lee Boon Chong, senior assistant director-general of the Intelligence and Investigation Division of Singapore Customs, said there is a "persistent street demand" for contraband cigarettes. He added that Singapore Customs would continue to intensify its enforcement, implement regulatory changes and reach out to the public with a seven-month long campaign.

Those caught with duty-unpaid goods can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty evaded, or face a jail term of up to six years, or both.

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