SINGAPORE - Close to 4,000 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized and three men have been charged, following two related operations by Singapore Customs officers on Friday (March 24).
The three Malaysian men, all aged 23, were found with a total of 3,934 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes, amounting to $335,360 in duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST), said Singapore Customs in a release on Monday (March 27).
The trio were charged in court on Saturday (March 25).
Singapore Customs officers mounted the first operation in the early hours of Friday (March 24) at a commercial building in Toh Guan Road, where two men were seen transferring boxes into three cars at the building's car park.
The duo were subsequently arrested and a total of 3,450 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were recovered from boxes inside and near the vehicles.
The cigarettes and vehicles were also seized in the operation.
A third man, who fled the scene, was arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint later that day.
Based on preliminary investigations, Singapore Customs officers later mounted a second operation at a self-storage facility in Woodlands Close.
Another 484 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized from a unit in the facility.
Those found guilty of buying, selling, conveying, delivering, keeping or dealing with duty-unpaid goods may be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/ or jailed for up to six years.
Repeat offenders caught with more than two kilogrammes of tobacco products will face mandatory imprisonment.