SINGAPORE: More than 500 cartons and 700 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized during an operation in Yishun, Singapore Customs said on Thursday (Nov 24).
During the operation on Tuesday, officers conducted checks on three men and two pick-up trucks inside a warehouse at an industrial building at Yishun Industrial Street 1.
Duty-unpaid cigarettes were found concealed in modified compartments under the cargo bed of the vehicles, said Singapore Customs.
A total of 512 cartons and 759 packets of contraband cigarettes were seized, and three men - all Malaysians and aged 28 to 33 - were arrested.
In follow-up operations, customs officers seized two other trucks parked at separate locations, which were suspected to have also been used to smuggle duty-unpaid cigarettes into Singapore at an earlier date.
The three men were allegedly hired to dismantle the trucks and retrieve the contraband cigarettes in the warehouse, said Singapore Customs.
The total duty and Goods and Services tax (GST) evaded amounted to about S$50,200 and S$3,990 respectively. Investigations are ongoing.
"Buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, possessing or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the GST Act," Singapore Customs said.
Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed up to six years, or both.
Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed for up to six years or both. Vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited.