SINGAPORE - Cigarettes hidden in the hollow base of a wooden altar led to operations that netted more than 2,000 cartons of the smuggled goods.
An Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer noticed anomalies when scanning a 20-footer container at the Pasir Panjang Scanning Station on March 28.
The container was declared to contain 34 "wooden bases". But, during the course of checks duty-unpaid cigarettes were found in the hollow base of one of the wooden altars in the container.
Singapore Customs conducted a follow-up operation in Senoko Road where 2,148 cartons and 2,250 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized.
Two Chinese nationals, both men, were arrested and two vehicles used to convey the cigarettes were seized, a joint press release by the ICA and Singapore Customs said on Wednesday (April 5).
Singapore Customs officers then raided a HDB flat in Sembawang Drive, which was rented by one of the Chinese nationals, and seized 37 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from the flat.
The total duty evaded was about $187,010 and the Goods and Services Tax amounted to $13,860.
Investigations are ongoing,authorities said.
Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years. Vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited.