Customs seizes more than 1,500 cartons of illegal cigarettes found in air-con units

SINGAPORE – More than 1,500 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes concealed inside six air-conditioning units were seized by Singapore Customs officers on Dec 8.

A 39-year-old man was arrested during the operation conducted in the vicinity of Gambas Crescent in Sembawang, the Singapore Customs said in a statement on Wednesday (Dec 15).

On Dec 8, Customs officers observed the man, who is a Chinese national, collecting goods from a warehouse and loading it into a Singapore-registered truck.

The officers moved in to conduct a check and found 1,512 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes in the air-conditioning units.

Investigations revealed that the consignment was imported from China via a container that carries goods belonging to multiple consignees.

Another carton and nine packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were also found during a follow-up search at the man’s residence, said Singapore Customs.

The duty evaded amounted to $129,280 and the goods and services tax (GST) evaded was $10,370. The cigarette packets, cartons and truck were seized.

Singapore Customs said court proceedings against the man are ongoing.

It also warned that buying, selling, conveying, delivering or storing duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and GST Act.

Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed up to six years, or both.

Vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited, added the agency.

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