1.9 million packets of contraband cigarettes seized by S'pore Customs so far this year

1.9 million packets of contraband cigarettes seized by S'pore Customs so far this year

Duty collected from legal cigarettes in the first nine months of this year also showed a spike of 4.1 per cent to $721 million, compared to $692 million collected in the same period last year.


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Here's the press release in full:

About 1.9 million packets of contraband cigarettes were seized in the first nine months of this year. This is an 84 per cent increase compared to the 1.03 million packets seized in the same period last year.

The larger quantity of illegal cigarettes seized is due to stepped up enforcement by Singapore Customs and its collaboration with other law enforcement agencies against contraband cigarette smugglers, peddlers and buyers.

Duty collected from legal cigarettes in the first nine months of this year also shows a spike, of 4.1 per cent - $721 million compared to $692 million collected in the same period last year - suggesting that smokers are increasingly ditching contraband for duty-paid cigarettes.

"We will continue with our strong enforcement efforts to keep the smuggling, peddling and buying of contraband cigarettes in check," said Mr Lee Boon Chong, Senior Assistant Director-General (Intelligence and Investigation), Singapore Customs.

"In particular, we will spare no effort in going after syndicates involved in the smuggling and distribution of contraband cigarettes," said Mr Lee.

In two recent operations, Singapore Customs hauled 13,300 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

On 25 September 2013, Singapore Customs officers conducted an operation at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 and intercepted a van that was conveying 2,500 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes. The driver, a 57-year-old Singaporean man, was arrested.

The enforcement officers were aware that the man had rented a bonded truck, which they suspected was also used to convey duty-unpaid cigarettes. The officers fanned out island-wide to search for the truck. Their determination and persistence paid off nine days later when they finally located the truck in a car park at Bangkit Road on 4 October 2013. The officers recovered another 10,800 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from the truck.

The 13,300 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized from these two operations have a total street value of more than $1.2 million. This is Singapore Customs' fourth largest haul of contraband cigarettes this year. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded exceeded $1.02 million.

Both vehicles were seized and investigations into this case are ongoing.

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