Four jailed and fined total of $110 million for duty-unpaid cigarettes
Four repeat offenders who evaded more than $1 million in duty and tax were convicted of dealing with duty-unpaid cigarettes and sentenced to jail and a total fine of $110 million.
The four Singaporean men - Kamaruddin Abdul Latiff, 51, Mohamad Khair Jonid, 51, Noor Hazlan Selamat, 51, and Rahmad Mohd Yasin, 38 - had all been previously convicted of offences involving duty-unpaid cigarettes.
The total duty and Goods and Service Tax evaded by the four men amounted to about $1,204,420.
As repeat offenders, they were liable to enhanced punishment under the Customs Act.
Rahmad, Noor Hazlan and Mohamad Khair will each face 42 months' imprisonment and a fine of $34 million. In default of the payment, the men will face an additional 28 months' imprisonment.
Kamaruddin will face 33 months' imprisonment and a fine of $8 million. In default of the payment, he will face an additional 21 months in jail.
He will also face an enhanced sentence of 105 days' imprisonment for breach of basic conditions of his remission order.
In a press release yesterday, Singapore Customs said that on March 23 last year, its officers conducted a check on a 20-foot container parked at an industrial building in Sunview Road and uncovered 10,800 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
It added that investigations had revealed that over February and March last year, Rahmad had approached Noor Hazlan to look for a warehouse to store duty-unpaid cigarettes.
Noor Hazlan then engaged Mohamad Khair to rent a warehouse unit for this purpose. In return, Rahmad offered to pay Noor Hazlan and Mohamad Khair $2,500 each for every successful shipment of duty-unpaid cigarettes delivered to the unit.
Investigations also revealed that in March 2018, Kamaruddin had purchased 2,500 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from Rahmad. The cartons were part of the consignment seized at Sunview Road last year.
In February this year, another Singaporean was fined $34 million after a record number of contraband cigarettes were seized.
On Feb 1, Ng Ghim Hong, 33, was charged with smuggling illegal cigarettes as part of a syndicate. He acted as the middleman in the operation to import and circulate "an unprecedented quantity" of duty-unpaid cigarettes in Singapore.
The 2,710kg of contraband cigarettes seized was the largest amount that sentencing courts have dealt with.