Contraband cigarettes, chewing tobacco worth more than $177,000 seized in 3 separate cases

SINGAPORE - Three separate attempts to smuggle contraband cigarettes and chewing tobacco were thwarted at the Woodlands checkpoint yesterday, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a statement.

In the first incident which happened at around 8.30am, ICA officers found two plastic bags containing 1,080 sachets of chewing tobacco hidden in the luggage box of a motorcycle belonging to a 43-year-old Malaysian man. Two packets of contraband cigarettes were also found in the his pocket.

Later at around 12pm, a total of 124 cartons and four packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found from the modified fuel tank and backseat of a Malaysia-registered car driven by a 29-year-old Malaysian man.

In the third case, 31 sealed packages containing a total of 1,550 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found among electric motors and carbon steel in a Malaysia-registered lorry. The driver was a 43-year-old Malaysian man.

A total of 1,080 sachets of chewing tobacco, 1,674 cartons and six packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes worth more than $177,000 were seized from the three cases. The three motorists and vehicles and contraband items were handed over to Singapore Customs for further investigations.

The ICA noted that the same method of concealment used by the suspects may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attacks in Singapore.

"Our borders are our first line of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security. The security checks are critical to our nation's security. The ICA will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle in undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contrabands," the ICA said.