More than 1,400 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden in a delivery truck were uncovered by Singapore Customs officers last week, with the 706 cartons hidden beneath banana leaves.
A 21-year-old Indonesian man, Suryadi Memet, has been sentenced to 17 months' jail today (Aug 15) for dealing with the contraband of unpaid duty amounting to about $85,000.
Officers had trailed a truck at midnight on Aug 5, as it delivered boxes of goods to the Geylang Serai Market.
The boxes were declared as food items, according to the local trading company's import permit.
The goods belonged to different owners but the local trading company had allowed itself to be declared as the importer of the container.
When the truck arrived at the market, Singapore Customs officers saw Suryadi waiting nearby to collect the boxes from the truck.
Officers moved in to conduct a check on the boxes in the truck, where they found the 1,445 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden under banana leaves.
Suryadi was arrested at the scene, while the trading company that took up the import permit for the container is currently under investigation.
According to the statement, the duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about $85,550 and $6,230 respectively.
Offenders who contravene the Customs Act and GST Act can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years.
Repeat offenders who are caught with more than 2kg of tobacco products will also face mandatory jail time.
Vehicles used to commit such offences may also be forfeited.
Members of public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-2330000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use Customs@SG mobile app to report these illegal activities.