Taiwanese celebrity make-up artist Xiao Kai alleges Singapore Customs taxed his used Celine bag
Taiwanese celebrity make-up artist Xiao Kai, who is currently in Singapore, claims that he was stopped by Customs when he entered the country.
In an Instagram Live last week, which has since been deleted from his grid, he alleged that he was taken to a room and questioned about his Celine bag, which was in a dustbag in his hand luggage, as it was considered a luxury item.
He said he was asked to produce a receipt for the bag, but was unable to do so as it was bought a month ago in Taipei.
“They made me feel like I was a smuggler of drugs, gold or diamonds,” he said in Mandarin in the 15-minute clip, although he also emphasised it was an isolated incident which did not affect how much he loved visiting Singapore.
Best known for appearing on popular Taiwanese variety show Lady First, the make-up guru is also known as Xiao Kai Laoshi (meaning teacher) but his real name is Chang Ching-kai.
As the bag was less than three months old, it was regarded as a new item and subsequently taxed 7 per cent of its sale price, which he said was about NT$50,000 (S$2,205).
“Just 7 per cent, it’s nothing. I can pay money to resolve the issue,” he said, adding that he took such good care of the bag that it looked brand new. “I’m the sort of person who will admit if I did something wrong, but I’ve done nothing wrong and this is an old bag.”
In response to a query from The Straits Times, a Singapore Customs spokesperson said it was aware of the Instagram post and has contacted Xiao Kai to understand the circumstances of his case.
Under Singapore’s laws, arriving travellers, whether foreigners or returning residents, are required to declare and pay the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to bring in new goods exceeding their GST relief.
For used personal items, travellers are not required to declare and pay GST on them.
The spokesperson added: “However, our officers at the checkpoint will assess the specifics of each case, such as the condition of the goods presented, to ascertain whether the goods are liable for GST payment.”
Another celebrity who recently ran into trouble at the airport was Running Man’s Jeon So-min, who was in Singapore for a holiday.
The popular South Korean host on the reality game show revealed an anecdote on last Sunday’s episode that she was taken away for questioning when she was entering Singapore.
The 36-year-old was repeatedly questioned about her date of departure, which she was sure was Oct 2, and whether she intended to return to South Korea. She later realised she had accidentally filled in the year 2202 instead of 2022 on her arrival card.
When contacted about Jeon’s case, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority referred ST to the declaration section of the SG Arrival Card, which facilitates the submission of personal information, trip details and health declaration by all travellers seeking entry into Singapore. It states that travellers must understand that “the truth and accuracy of the information submitted” in this form is their “responsibility”, and those who “provide any false, inaccurate, or incomplete information” in the form “may be held liable to offences related to such action”.
After clarifying that she was not intending to stay in Singapore for 180 years, she was able to begin her holiday in earnest, hitting the nightclubs and visiting Universal Studios in her five days in town.