7 nabbed in crackdown on online illegal cigarette trade , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

7 nabbed in crackdown on online illegal cigarette trade

In two operations against the illegal cigarette trade, Singapore Customs arrested seven men and seized 83 cartons of contraband cigarettes.

Singapore Customs said on Feb 2 that the first operation was carried out on Jan 16 at Jurong West Street 81 after it detected sales of duty-unpaid cigarettes being advertised on a social messaging platform.

Officers seized 68 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes and $3,290 in cash from a truck’s cargo compartment. The cash is believed to be proceeds from the illegal sales of cigarettes.

The truck driver, a 42-year-old male Chinese national, was arrested during the sting. Investigations indicated that he was purportedly hired through WeChat to distribute the duty-unpaid cigarettes using his company’s vehicle.

He was intercepted while making a delivery. Court proceedings against the driver are currently underway.

Following the first bust, a two-week long operation was conducted, resulting in the arrest of six more individuals. Officers confiscated an additional 15 cartons, 16 packets, and 48 sticks of duty-unpaid cigarettes, along with six bottles of duty-unpaid liquor.

The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded in these cases amounted to about $11,361.

Of the six individuals arrested in the follow-up operation, two were fined $2,600 on Jan 22 and $8,900 on Jan 29 respectively. Proceedings against another two are ongoing, while the remaining two are under investigation.

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

Additionally, any vehicles used in the commission of these offences, as well as the proceeds from the sales of duty-unpaid cigarettes, can be forfeited.

Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of duty or GST can provide information at go.gov.sg/reportcustomsoffence.