Duty-unpaid chewing tobacco and cigarettes worth over $142,000 seized

Duty-unpaid chewing tobacco and cigarettes worth over $142,000 seized

8,220 sachets of chewing tobacco worth $22,120 in potential duty tax and 1,549 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes worth $120,200 were seized by Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers during a routine checks of vehicles entering Singapore from Malaysia.

On Mar 16 at about 5.45am, ICA officers directed a Malaysia-registered trailer for routine checks at the Tuas Checkpoint.

The trailer, driven by a Malaysian man, aged 46 years old, was conveying pre-cast concrete.

ICA officers conducted a thorough search of the trailer and uncovered two big black trash bags concealed in the tool storage compartment.

The bags contained 8,220 sachets of "Hans Chhap" chewing tobacco. The potential duty and GST for the duty-unpaid chewing tobacco amounted to about $22,120 and $1,540 respectively.

Less than an hour later at about 6.15am, over at the Woodlands Checkpoint, a 42-year-old Malaysian man was directed by ICA officers for checks as well.

Officers had discovered anomalies in the scanned image and directed the Malaysia-registered lorry for further inspection.

The consignment was declared to be rear seat cushions and vehicle seats.

During the course of checks, officers uncovered 1,549 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes in sealed packages surrounded by the consignment.

The duty and GST of the duty unpaid cigarettes amounted to about $120,200 and $11,470 respectively.

The drivers, exhibits and vehicles for both cases were handed over to Singapore Customs for further investigation.

The vehicles used in the commission of such offences are liable to be forfeited. Investigations are ongoing.

ICA said: "Our borders are our first line of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security. The security checks are critical to our nation's security. We will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle in undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contrabands. The same methods of concealment used by contraband smugglers may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attacks in Singapore."

spanaech@sph.com.sg

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