S$1.4m worth of contraband cigarettes seized

SINGAPORE — Four Malaysian men were Monday (Jan 13) each sentenced between 34 and 36 months’ jail each for their involvement in contraband cigarettes.

The four men were arrested last Saturday after 14,999 cartons of contraband cigarettes worth S$1.4 million were seized, marking this the third largest seizure of contraband cigarettes in four years. The duty and Goods and Services Tax evaded exceeded S$1.1 million.

Last Friday, the Singapore Customs and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority conducted checks on a 12m container upon its arrival at the Tanjong Pagar scanning station. Checks revealed duty-unpaid cigarettes hidden in 16 pallets of board partitions.

Mogan Ayawoo, 37; Kasidesan Ramansantiran, 26; and Manirajan Abimanan, 25, were arrested after officers watched them as they moved the pallets into a unit of a warehouse at Soon Lee Street.

The unit was raided, and the cartons of contraband cigarettes were found.

The fourth man, Thiru Chelvam Krishnasamy, 33, who was the ringleader of the group, was subsequently arrested.

Offenders found in the possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed up to six years, or both.

The minimum court fine for first-time and repeat offenders of tobacco-related offences are S$2,000 and S$4,000 respectively. Repeat offenders who are caught with more than 2kg of tobacco products will also face mandatory imprisonment.

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