More than 500 cartons, 700 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes seized; 3 men arrested in Yishun

A total of 512 cartons and 759 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized. PHOTO: SINGAPORE CUSTOMS

SINGAPORE - Three men were arrested and more than 500 cartons and 700 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized by the Singapore Customs in an operation on Tuesday.

The three Malaysians, aged 28 to 33, were nabbed after Customs officers found 512 cartons and 759 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in two pickups in a unit of an industrial building in Yishun Industrial Street 1, said the Singapore Customs on Thursday. The haul is equivalent to over 5,800 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

There were modified compartments under the cargo beds of the vehicles to conceal the items.

In follow-up operations, Customs officers seized two more pickups, parked in separate locations, which they suspect were also used to smuggle duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore.

Investigations revealed that the trio were allegedly engaged by unidentified people in Malaysia to dismantle the pickups and retrieve the duty-unpaid cigarettes in the warehouse unit. The total evaded duty amounted to about $50,200, while evaded goods and services tax (GST) was $3,990.

Investigations are ongoing.

Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed for up to six years, or both. Vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited.

Those with information on smuggling activities or evasion of duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-233-0000 or e-mail customs_intelligence@customs.gov.sg

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