Over $42,000 worth of contraband cigarettes seized

Over $42,000 worth of contraband cigarettes seized
Some of the duty-unpaid cigarettes confiscated last Saturday. Singapore Customs also arrested five work permit holders from China in the raid.

Singapore Customs officers, acting on a tip-off last week, busted a contraband cigarette distribution ring that was operating out of Siglap estate.

Some 394 cartons and 35 packets of contraband cigarettes worth more than $42,000, as well as a private bus allegedly used to transport the illicit goods, were seized during the raid.

A spokesman for Singapore Customs yesterday said five work permit holders from China were also arrested in last Saturday's operation. Customs officers first spotted Miao Wei, 39, driving the bus into Fidelio Street in Opera Estate at about 2.50pm that day. He got off the bus and, with Xu Renfeng, 29, was seen carrying five canvas bags into a terraced house at the adjoining Ernani Street. They then handed the bags to Wang Guangzhen, 26, who was renting a room at the Ernani Street house.

The officers arrested the three men and recovered 250 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from the bags and 30 cartons and two packets from the bus.

Two other tenants - Guo Peiying, 26 and Shi Zhenyuan, 24 - who had a total of 53 cartons and 18 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in their rooms, were also nabbed during the raid.

Another carton and 10 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found in Wang's room.

Sixty cartons and five packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were recovered from Xu's rented room in another terraced house at nearby Aida Street.

Wang had ordered the duty-unpaid cigarettes from Xu, who recruited Miao to deliver them using his company's bus. The duty and goods and services tax evaded exceeded $33,800.

For their involvement, Guo has been jailed for four months, while Shi was fined $5,800 or 20 days' jail in default. Court proceedings are ongoing for the remaining three men.

joycel@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 05, 2014.
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