A Singaporean man, Ramesh Krishnasamy, 48, was sentenced by the State Courts on 17 May 2019 to three weeks’ imprisonment for giving false information to Singapore Customs.
In a press release on Thursday (23 May), the authority stated that the sole proprietor of an import business, Green Royal, pleaded guilty to one charge of furnishing false information to Singapore Customs.
According to the authority, 800 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found in a consignment imported by Green Royal on 22 September 2018.
However, the consignment was declared as 176 pieces of empty plastic baskets, but duty-unpaid cigarettes were found concealed in a modified compartment of a Malaysian-registered lorry transporting the consignment.
On 23 October 2018, Ramesh was called up to assist in Singapore Customs’ investigation of the case.
He was then asked by the investigation officer to provide information relating to his business and imports as part of the investigation.
Ramesh then provided the name and phone number of a person whom he claimed had suggested to him to start the business.
In a subsequent interview on 1 November 2018, Ramesh admitted to the investigation officer that the details of the person and phone number which he had provided on 23 October 2018 were fictitious.
Ramesh revealed that an Indian national had asked him to register the business in July 2018. In October 2018, the man informed Ramesh that Green Royal was caught by Singapore Customs for smuggling 800 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
The man also told Ramesh to provide the fictitious information during the investigation by Singapore Customs. Ramesh did as he was told in order to conceal the identity of the man.
Due to his false information, the authority said that the investigation process was hindered and this provided an opportunity for the Indian national to leave Singapore. The man has been placed on a watch list and will be investigated upon his return to Singapore.
The Malaysian lorry driver, K Kumar Kannan, 44, who was transporting the consignment of 800 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes was arrested on 22 September 2018. He admitted knowledge of the duty-unpaid cigarettes found and was sentenced by the State Courts to 12 months’ imprisonment on 24 September 2018.
Knowingly refusing to answer questions or giving false information or document are serious offences under the Customs Act. Offenders can be fined up to $5,000 and/or jailed for up to 12 months.
Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-233-000, email email@example.com or use Customs@SG mobile app (which can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play) to report these illegal activities.