The duty-free store is one of the highlights of visiting the airport before our trips abroad.
Everything is cheap and easily accessible in a store with few people.
But once these items leave those stores, they’re no longer exempt from the payment of local or national taxes and duties.
For years and years, smugglers have been bringing in duty-unpaid items into Singapore with the hope of making a quick buck.
They have no trouble getting rid of their product because smokers are always enticed by the lower prices.
But if the smugglers are caught, they could lose everything and more in an instant.
Over 6,000 Cartons of Duty-Unpaid Cigarettes Seized by S’pore Customs
On 2 Sep, Singapore Customs officers spotted what they believed to be suspicious activity at the loading and unloading bay of an industrial building in Woodlands Industrial Park.
Three men and a woman were transferring boxes into a Singapore-registered truck there, and customs officers suspected that they contained duty-unpaid cigarettes.
They were right.
When they inspected the boxes, they found 1,120 cartons of such cigarettes in the truck, and immediately arrested the four individuals.
Further checks showed that another 4,928 cartons were kept in another Singapore-registered truck in the area.
In total, 6,048 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized.
Later on, the driver of a Malaysia-registered lorry was also arrested at Tuas Checkpoint when he tried to leave Singapore, as he was suspected of delivering the cigarettes.
The five individuals who were arrested were identified as three Singaporean men, as well as a Malaysian man and woman.
The duty evaded for the more than 6000 cartons of cigarettes amounted to S$516,490 and the goods and services tax (GST) evaded was S$41,430.
All three vehicles believed to be involved were seized, and investigations are ongoing.
Sellers Not the Only Ones Who Can Get into Trouble
Sellers and smugglers aren’t the only ones who can get into trouble, of course.
As Singapore Customs said on its website, buying or selling “one is all it takes” to land yourself in jail or get slapped with a huge fine.
“Buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the Goods and Services Tax Act,” the agency said.
“You can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty evaded, or jailed for up to six years, or both.”
Smoking is bad for you anyway, so why not stay away from all of them, whether they’re cheap or not?
If you are looking for ways to quit smoking, watch this video:
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