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9,080 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes seized and three Chinese nationals arrested

9,080 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes seized and three Chinese nationals arrested

More than 9,080 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized and three Chinese nationals, aged between 31 and 36, were arrested in the largest haul of duty-unpaid cigarettes in 2019 from two related operations conducted in Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2 and Defu Lane 10 on 7 May 2019.

Singapore Customs stated in its press release on Friday (10 May) that evening, a team of Singapore Customs officers conducted a check on a Singapore-registered truck in Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2.

Some 3,011 cartons and 10 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found in the truck. The driver and another man who was in the passenger seat were arrested.

At the same time, another team of officers who were keeping watch in Defu Lane 10, conducted a search of another Singapore-registered truck that was parked there. They uncovered 6,076 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from the truck, and the third man was arrested.

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The authority then conducted a follow-up search in one of the men’s HDB flat in Bukit Batok West Avenue 6, where officers uncovered two cartons and eight packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Investigations revealed that the duty-unpaid cigarettes found in the truck in Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2 were transferred from the truck parked in Defu Lane 10.

Investigations also showed that the three men were engaged via WeChat to load and deliver duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Court proceedings against the three men are ongoing, the authority noted.

A total of 9,089 cartons and 18 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized in the operations. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about $870,010 and $63,660 respectively.

Cash amounting to $3,300, suspected to be proceeds from the sale of duty-unpaid cigarettes, and the two trucks were also seized.

The authority stressed that buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the GST Act.

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.