SINGAPORE - More than 26,000 cartons and 840 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized by the Singapore Customs on Sept 18 and 19.
A total of 13 men were arrested at five separate locations, the Singapore Customs said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 26).
On Sept 18, customs officers checked on two Singapore-registered trucks in Choa Chu Kang Avenues 2 and 3 and found brown boxes containing duty-unpaid cigarettes in them. Three Malaysian men, aged between 31 and 36 were arrested and 2,142 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized.
Later that evening, a warehouse in Bukit Batok was raided, and 12,513 cartons and 840 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized. Four men - a Malaysian and three Indonesians - were arrested.
The following day, customs officers raided a warehouse in Gambas Crescent and arrested six Singaporean men. Two Singapore-registered trucks and 10,631 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found in the two trucks that were seized.
That evening, another Singapore-registered truck in Woodlands was checked and 1,428 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized.
In total, 26,714 cartons and 840 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized in the two days. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded was $2,389,280 and $175,660 respectively.
Out of the 13 men arrested, eight have been charged while investigations are ongoing for five men.
Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years, the Singapore Customs said. The vehicles used for such offences will also be forfeited.
Members of the public with information on any smuggling activities or evasion of taxes can call 1800-233-0000 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org