SINGAPORE: Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers seized more than 800 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from hidden compartments of an Indonesian-registered vessel on 7 January. The cigarettes, along with all the three Indonesia crew members, aged 33, 46 and 48, have been handed over to Singapore Customs, reported the Channel News Asia. Meanwhile, authorities have ordered further check on the vessel upon its arrival at the Singapore Cruise Centre.
After the initial investigation, it was revealed that the potential duty and Goods and Service Tax (GST) of the 804 cartons and 43 packets of cigarettes are worth S$75,460 and S$7,100 respectively.
“We will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle in undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contrabands,” said ICA, according to the news media.
“The same methods of concealment used by contraband smugglers may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attacks in Singapore,” it added.
Smuggling of goods is becoming a daily nuisance in the Southeast Asian countries. On 23 December, ICA arrested eight Indonesian after they were found peddling duty-unpaid cigarettes, which potential duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) amounted to about $10,460 and $1,005 respectively.
Also, on 17 December in Malaysia, cigarettes and beer worth RM870,840 were seized by customs officers at The Sarawak Royal Malaysian Customs (JKDM). The goods were shipped from Singapore and were imported by a non-existent company, said police.