Man fined $133,000 for under-declaring value of luxury goods

A former businessman was fined a total of $133,000 yesterday for under-declaring the value of imported luxury handbags and accessories to evade paying the full goods and services tax (GST).

Over two years from 2010, Ho Theam Guan, 57, committed 65 offences under the Customs Act.

He admitted to 20 charges and had the remaining 45 taken into consideration during his sentencing.

Singapore Customs prosecuting officer Ngoo Chih Min told the court that Ho, a director of Emer Asia, an importer of luxury handbags and accessories, came to know one Florence Long Siew Fong some time in 2010.

Long, who has been dealt with and fined $31,000, was then a partner of Haute Avenue, a local importer of luxury items.

Ho agreed to help Long to source for luxury items from America.

Under the arrangement, he would prepare invoices for these items for the purposes of applying for an import permit with Customs and for payment of GST.

The value of the items shown in the invoices would be lower than their actual value, which meant that Long could evade paying the full GST on the goods.

Investigations also showed that in an earlier arrangement with Mr Daniel Lim Kok Yeow, who was head of merchandising at Reebonz, Ho helped the company source for luxury items in the United States and arrange for their import.

But Mr Lim did not know that the value of the items shown on the invoice would be lower than the actual value of the items.

Ho, who is an undischarged bankrupt, was allowed to pay the fines by monthly instalments.

This article was first published on Nov 1, 2014.
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