Singapore Customs officers seized more than 17,600 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth more than $1.6 million in the authority's second largest haul this year.
The operations on Nov 27 and Dec 3 led to the arrests of five men, disrupting the distribution network of two syndicates.
The total duty and Goods and Services Tax evaded for the total of 17,638 cartons and eight packets of contraband cigarettes seized was more than $1.3 million.
"Syndicates will always try to come up with new and clever ways of hiding and smuggling cigarettes into Singapore. We will stay ahead of the game, and strike at the right time to disrupt their illegal activities," said Mr Yeo Sew Meng, Assistant Director-General for Intelligence and Investigation of the Singapore Customs.
On Nov 27, Customs officers laid an ambush outside a warehouse at Soon Lee Street, near Pioneer Road North. This led to the arrest of a 54-year-old Singaporean man as he was retrieving cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from his car.
Based on intel, another operation was mounted six days later at another warehouse along the same street. One Malaysian and three Vietnamese men were arrested as they were retrieving cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden in fibre tanks and packing them into bags.
This is the authority's second-largest overall haul this year, and the largest inland haul, following the seizure of 18,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes in an operation at Jurong Port on Jan 23, 2013.