SINGAPORE - Two Singaporean men have been arrested after some 4,500 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized by Singapore Customs.
The duty evaded amounted to more than half a million dollars, said the agency on Friday (April 29).
Officers saw the two men, aged 25 and 37, transferring boxes between a Singapore-registered truck and a car at a carpark near Lorong 8 Toa Payoh on Wednesday and conducted checks on them.
One of the men tried to flee the scene but was stopped by the officers, and both men were arrested.
A total of 4,540 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found in the two vehicles.
The cigarettes and vehicles were seized. The duty evaded amounted to about $516,000 and the goods and services tax (GST) evaded was about $39,000.
A packet of unknown white powder, suspected to be controlled drugs, was also found in the truck. Singapore Customs said that the matter has been referred to the Central Narcotics Bureau for further investigation.
Singapore Customs reminded the public that 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.
Last year, some 463,232 packets of illegal cigarettes were seized in Singapore.
One of the biggest busts of illegal cigarettes was made on Jan 13, 2021, when 11,285 cartons and 7,685 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found hidden in Chinese God of Fortune figurines on a Malaysia-registered lorry entering Singapore.
Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-233-0000, or e-mail email@example.com to report these activities.