More than 11,500 cartons of contraband cigarettes siezed in a week

11,400 cartons of illegal cigarettes confiscated in two ops, cases against six men

Contraband cigarettes with a total of $1,061,340 in unpaid duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) were seized in two operations carried out by the Singapore Customs last week.

A total of 11,400 cartons of contraband were seized in the two operations .

During the first operation last Tuesday, officers raided a warehouse in a commercial building in Tuas View Place. They had seen three men moving gunny sacks, suspected to contain duty-unpaid cigarettes, into the warehouse.

A total of 3,900 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes and a Singapore-registered lorry were seized. Court proceedings against the three men, who are Singaporeans aged between 19 and 42, are ongoing.

Two days later, the Singapore Customs conducted a second operation in an industrial estate in Depot Lane.

Three Singaporean men between the ages of 25 and 55, who had transferred duty-unpaid cigarettes from a lorry to a van, were arrested.

A fourth Singaporean man, 23, drove another van loaded with duty-unpaid cigarettes from Depot Lane to an open carpark in Seah Im Road before fleeing the scene.

He was arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint later the same day.

The operation resulted in a seizure of 7,500 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes and three Singapore-registered vehicles - a lorry and two vans - that were used to transport the contraband cigarettes.

Court proceedings against three of the men are ongoing, while another 55-year-old man is assisting with investigations.

There were also two incidents of smuggling involving tobacco over the last few days.

Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers uncovered 180 cartons and 1,041 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in a car at Tuas Checkpoint on Saturday. The cigarettes were hidden in various modified compartments of a Singapore-registered car.

According to a Facebook post by ICA, the car was driven by a 35-year-old Singaporean man who was returning with his wife and their 7-year-old son.

The case has been referred to Singapore Customs and court proceedings are ongoing.

On Monday, ICA officers discovered 5,066 sachets of chewing tobacco in a 32-year-old Malaysian man's car.

The ICA said the Malaysian-registered car had been referred for further checks when it arrived at Woodlands Checkpoint.

Officers found the sachets hidden in the rear bumper, left and right side skirting, and undercarriage of the vehicle.

The case was referred to the Health Sciences Authority for further investigations. - THE STRAITS TIMES