Multiple contraband cigarette smuggling attempts foiled over past 3 days

Multiple contraband cigarette smuggling attempts foiled over past 3 days
Contraband cigarettes hidden in modified floorboard of MPV.

SINGAPORE - Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers uncovered a total of 1,984 cartons and 2,395 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes over the past three days.

These cigarettes were uncovered during routine checks at land checkpoints here.

The duty-unpaid cigarettes were concealed in modified compartments of four arriving Malaysia-registered vehicles.

ICA said the potential duty and GST for the contraband cigarettes amounted to about $174,860 and $16,600 respectively.

In the first case on Tuesday, officers at Tuas Checkpoint found cigarettes concealed in the modified floorboard of a multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) driven by a 23-year-old male Malaysian who was accompanied by three female Malaysian passengers.

On Wednesday, cigarettes were found concealed in a modified tank of a MPV driven by a lone 26-year-old Malaysian man.

And on Thursday, more contraband cigarettes were found in the front bumper as well as modified compartments of the dashboard, floorboard and panels of a MPV driven by a 29-year-old female Malaysian, who was accompanied by two other female Malaysian passengers.

Similar method of concealment was also observed by ICA officers at the Woodlands Checkpoint on arriving vehicles.

Duty-unpaid cigarettes were found on Tuesday in a modified floorboard of an empty Malaysia-registered bus, driven by a 36-year-old male Malaysian.

The drivers, passengers, exhibits and vehicles for all cases were handed over to Singapore Customs for further investigations.

The vehicles used in the commission of such offences are liable to be forfeited, said ICA.

Investigations are ongoing.

ICA said it will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles to prevent attempts to smuggle 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," added ICA.

klim@sph.com.sg

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