SINGAPORE - Woodlands Checkpoint officers have foiled three separate attempts to smuggle contraband cigarettes into Singapore over the past two days.
The contraband cigarettes found in all three cases have a total customs duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) of close to $119,000.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a statement today that the smugglers had concealed the cigarettes in ways which could potentially be used to also smuggle weapons or explosives into Singapore.
The first case occurred on July 1 at around 7.20am, when Woodlands Checkpoint officers uncovered 246 cartons of contraband cigarettes in the modified floorboard of a Malaysia-registered car driven by a 31-year-old Malaysian man.
About an hour an a half later, another car driven by a 26-year-old Malaysian man was also found to be carrying 96 cartons and 948 packets of contraband cigarettes.
The next day, a 35-year-old Malaysian man who claimed to be transporting 3,200 cartons of packet drinks was stopped by ICA officers.
Inspection officers noticed anomalies in the scanned image of the goods he was carrying.
They found sealed packages of contraband cigarettes hidden among the packet drinks. Contraband cigarettes were also hidden in the rear and tool box compartments of the lorry.
A total of 959 cartons of contraband cigarettes were found in the lorry.
ICA said that the potential customs duty and GST for all three cases seized over the two days amounted to an estimated $108, 314 and $10,337 respectively.
All of the suspects, vehicles and exhibits found were handed over to the Singapore Customs for further investigations. The vehicles used during such offences could also be forfeited.
Investigations are ongoing.