More than 2,000 cartons of smuggled cigarettes found in container

ICA officers found duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden in the hollow base of a wooden altar that was being brought into Singapore on March 28, 2017.
ICA officers found duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden in the hollow base of a wooden altar that was being brought into Singapore on March 28, 2017.PHOTO: ICA
Follow-up investigations led Singapore Customs officers to Senoko Road, where they seized a further 2,148 cartons and 2,250 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
Follow-up investigations led Singapore Customs officers to Senoko Road, where they seized a further 2,148 cartons and 2,250 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS
The two vehicles that were used to transport the duty-unpaid cigarettes were also seized by customs officers.
The two vehicles that were used to transport the duty-unpaid cigarettes were also seized by customs officers.PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

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.