$30m fine, jail for cigarette smuggling syndicate mastermind

A syndicate leader was yesterday handed the heaviest sentence for contraband cigarette offences in four years.

Mok Chee Kin, 50, who is stateless, was jailed five years and eight months and fined $30 million for crafting a plan to smuggle contraband cigarettes via Jurong Port into Singapore in March 2016.

He was convicted of a total of eight charges, including bribing a Certis Cisco senior protection officer.

As Mok did not pay the court fine, he will serve another 30 months' jail, bringing his total imprisonment term to five years and 38 months.

Mok, a repeat offender, was last jailed seven months in 2011 for contraband cigarette offences.

According to a statement by Singapore Customs and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), Customs officers had uncovered 10,500 cartons of contraband cigarettes in a truck during an operation around Jurong Port on March 30, 2016.

Investigations later revealed that Mok had earlier met two Singaporeans - Devinderan Arajinan, 36, and Lee Helmi Iskandar Rosli, 31 - to devise the plan.

Mok would place orders for contraband cigarettes to be shipped from Batam to Jurong Port.

Lee would receive the shipments, which would then be collected by Devinderan to be delivered to other parts of Singapore.

Devinderan roped in Malaysian Rajeswaran Sandra, who had made arrangements with a Certis Cisco officer to avoid conducting checks on the truck.

The statement said Lee, Devinderan and Rajeswaran were sentenced to 36 months' jail each between November 2016 and February 2017 for their roles in the smuggling plan.

Lee was also fined $5,000, while Devinderan and Rajeswaran were sentenced to an additional three months' jail each for their corruption offences.