Luxury bags, alcohol and cigarettes: Travellers caught not clearing duties and taxes
Luxury bags, alcohol and cigarettes were among the undeclared dutiable and taxable goods found in the luggage of inbound travellers at the Singapore Changi Airport in an enforcement operation ahead of the travel peak season of the June school holidays.
The joint operation, conducted between May 15 and 21 by the Singapore Customs and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, found 115 travellers who have failed to declare and pay duties or goods and services tax (GST) for cigarettes and tobacco products; liquors in excess of their duty-free allowance; or taxable goods exceeding their GST import relief allowance.
The total amount of duties and GST recovered was $18,491 and the total penalty imposed was close to $28,000.
A male Singaporean was caught with five undeclared luxury bags that he and his girlfriend purchased overseas. The five bags were valued at $13,825 and the amount of GST involved was $1,106.
A female Singaporean was found with an undeclared luxury watch and a luxury bag, with a total value of $5,637. The amount of GST involved was $450.96.
A male foreigner was found with six packets of undeclared cigarettes wrapped in a “Happy Birthday” foil wrapper, while a male employment pass holder was found to have used the Customs@SG application to falsely declare a bottle of whisky as GST goods to avoid paying the excise duty of $15.14.
“It is the responsibility of all arriving travellers to make an accurate and complete declaration of all dutiable and taxable items in their possession upon arrival. It is an offence to evade taxes and duties and travellers may end up paying more as penalties,” said Ms Sung Pik Wan, Singapore Customs’ senior assistant director-general for checkpoints.
Under the Customs Act, any person in any fraudulent evasion of, or attempt to fraudulently evade Customs duty or excise duty, is guilty of an offence. The person will be liable on conviction to a fine of up to 20 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, or jailed for up to two years.