A container at Pasir Panjang Scanning Station which carried a consignment declared as candle-holders, pens and towels turned out to instead be carrying duty-unpaid cigarettes worth an estimated street value of $1.37 million.
The seizure last Wednesday of 14,400 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes makes it one of the largest contraband cigarette busts this year, said a joint statement from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Singapore Customs on Tuesday.
The statement said the 40-foot container had arrived at the scanning station at about 4.15pm that day.
ICA officers had directed the 40-foot container for radiographic scanning and noticed that images of the goods were inconsistent with the goods declared.
The container had also been identified by Singapore Customs for further checks, said the statement.
Officers then directed the container for physical checks, and the duty-unpaid cigarette cartons were discovered.The evaded duty and goods and service taxes involved amounted to about $1.01 million and $96,000 respectively.
The case is currently being investigated by Singapore Customs.
Smuggling, buying and selling duty-unpaid goods are considered offences under the Customs and GST Act. Repeat offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty evaded and jailed for up to six years.
Vehicles used in the committing of such offences may also be forfeited.