2 handbag retailers fined for evading GST

Two handbag retailers were sentenced by the State Courts on April 15 for evading the Goods and Services Tax (GST), said the Singapore Customs in a statement on Monday, April 20.

Tang Wai Chuen Adrian, 42, and Ong Siew Hong, 60, were fined $95,000 and $42,000 respectively. Both retailers had under-declared the values of their imported goods in fake invoices that were submitted to the Singapore Customs.

Between Jan 2013 and June 2014, Tang had managed to import 3,390 branded handbags from the US, Italy and Malaysia on 80 occasions. The under-declaration of the imported goods' values caused a shortfall of about $55,606 in GST payment.

Tang, the owner of MBE Trading & Services, pleaded guilty to 10 charges. Another 70 charges were taken into consideration during the sentencing.

Ong was caught submitting fake invoices with the import declarations to Singapore Customs.

Ong, the director of Be Bonita Fashion and Apparels Pte Ltd, had imported 2,024 branded handbags and 1,505 pieces of accessories such as wristlets, phone cases and travel adapters on 13 occasions between May 2013 and Nov 2014 according to investigations.

The total amount of GST that Ong had evaded exceeded $7,360. Ong pleaded guilty to four charges. Another nine charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing.

Assistant Director-General (Intelligence & Investigation) of Singapore Customs Mr Yeo Sew Meng said: "It is the responsibility of importers to ensure the accuracy and completeness of declarations submitted.

"Evasion and under-declaration of GST are serious offences under the Customs Act. All cases of revenue evasion and violations of Customs regulations are investigated. Anyone found involved in abetting the fraudulent evasion of duty and GST will be dealt with severely."

Under the Customs Act, any person who is guilty of fraudulent evasion of duties or GST will be liable on conviction to a fine of up to 20 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, face imprisonment or both.

In addition to the penalties given out by the court, offenders are also required to make good the duty and GST under-paid.

Members of the public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline at 1800-233-0000 or email customs_intelligence@customs.gov.sg