Eight men and two women – aged between 23 and 69 – were arrested, and more than 2,600 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized by Singapore Customs in several operations islandwide last week.
Seven separate operations were conducted across Singapore from 5 October to 9 October, said Singapore Customs in a press release on Friday (16 Oct).
In two of the operations, its officers raided two HDB units at King George’s Avenue and Serangoon North Avenue 4 that were used for storage and peddling of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
Two Singaporean men and a Chinese national man were arrested. The authority also seized 639 cartons and 20 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
In three other operations conducted at Kang Ching Road, Eunos Industrial Park, and Realty Park, Singapore Customs officers foiled attempts made to retrieve shipments of contraband cigarettes that were concealed in cover loads such as metal oven, wooden shelves, and an air purifier unit.
Two Chinese national men and a Singaporean woman were apprehended, and 1,596 cartons and 5,942 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were confiscated.
In two other operations conducted at Yishun Ring Road and Jurong West St 93, four Singaporeans – three men and a woman – were taken into custody for storing and delivering duty-unpaid cigarettes.
A total of 369 cartons and 908 packets of cigarettes were seized.
Court proceedings against four of the men and one of the women are ongoing. Investigations are ongoing for the remaining four men and one woman.
Overall, a total of 2,604 cartons and 6,870 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes and a vehicle were seized during the operations.
The duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about S$293,700 and S$23,590 respectively.
“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,” said Singapore Customs in the release.
“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.”