Man delivered contraband cigarettes, helped to deposit earnings
A 45-year-old Singaporean was sentenced to 24 months’ jail on Thursday after he was found guilty of delivering duty-unpaid cigarettes and helping to deposit money believed to be from the sale of the contraband goods.
Lo Kwang Meng’s prison sentence comprises a 17-month sentence for the delivery of the cigarettes and another seven months for assisting another person to retain benefits from criminal conduct.
The Singapore Customs said in a statement on Friday that Lo was arrested by its officers during an operation on April 28, 2022, in Changi Road.
During the operation, officers saw Lo sitting in a van which was found to contain 1,329 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes along with $42,660 in cash, believed to be earnings from the sale of the contraband cigarettes.
The cigarettes, cash and van were all seized by officers.
The total duty and goods and services tax evaded amounted to about $116,050 and $9,200, respectively.
Investigations revealed that Lo had been instructed by an unknown individual over a social messaging platform to deliver the cigarettes and collect cash payments from the recipients.
After the delivery and collection of money, he was to have passed the cash to other unknown individuals as well as deposit the proceeds into bank accounts, which were to be provided to him.
Lo’s case was referred to the police’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) for further investigations.
The CAD discovered that from April 6 to 19, 2022, Lo had performed multiple cash deposits into six different bank accounts amounting to $77,000.
The Singapore Customs statement said: “Lo was aware that these funds, which he had assisted to deposit into the six bank accounts, were criminal proceeds derived from the sale of duty-unpaid cigarettes.”
Those found guilty of buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, possessing or dealing with duty-unpaid goods can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, be jailed up to six years, or both.
A person found guilty of assisting others to retain benefits from criminal conduct can be jailed for up to 10 years, be fined up to $500,000, or both.
Individuals who have information on smuggling activities can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-233-0000, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to report these illegal activities.