4 Malaysian men charged for contraband cigarettes worth over $400,000

4 Malaysian men charged for contraband cigarettes worth over $400,000

SINGAPORE - Four Malaysian males, aged between 21 and 27, were charged in the State Courts yesterday for possessing over 3,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes, Singapore Customs and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said in a statement on Thursday.

The four, Ng Kuan Hwa, Ooi Teik Wei, Gooi Chin Lean and Tay Chee Yong, had been arrested after a raid on a warehouse unit at Woodlands Industrial Park on May 25.

During the raid, Singapore Customs and ICA officers saw the four men within the unit and found 3,700 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes, which had been retrieved from the hollow spaces within 12 concrete barriers.

The contraband cigarettes seized were worth more than $409,000, and the duty and Goods and Services Tax evaded exceeded $334,000.

Singapore Customs stressed that buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, possessing or deling with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act.

"Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, and/or jailed for up to six years," the statement said.

Meanwhile, fines for first-time or repeat offenders of tobacco-related offences are $2,000 and $4,000 respectively, and repeat offenders with more than 2kg of tobacco products will also face mandatory imprisonment.

seanyap@sph.com.sg

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