On 17 August 2017 at about 6pm, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers conducted checks on a 40-footer container at a warehouse in Chai Chee Lane. The container was presented for clearance at the Tanjong Pagar Scanning Station and was sealed for checks at the premises of the freight forwarder. During the checks, the officers noticed that there were 35 boxes wrapped with corrugated paper among a consignment declared as “display stand and keychain card holder”.
When the ICA officers unwrapped the boxes, the items turned out to be wooden doors. Suspecting that contraband items may be concealed in the wooden doors, the officers pried open the side panel and found duty-unpaid cigarettes. Singapore Customs was alerted, and 1,894 cartons and 660 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes concealed in the wooden doors were uncovered.
Based on the leads gathered from the case, Singapore Customs identified another suspicious consignment of wooden doors and mounted a follow-up operation on 21 August 2017 night. Singapore Customs officers kept a close watch as two vans were driven into a building in Playfair Road. They saw the consignment of wooden doors being unloaded from the vans and conveyed to a unit on the fifth level of the building.
The Singapore Customs officers then moved into the unit to conduct a search, and they found 1,890 cartons and 700 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes concealed in the wooden doors. Two male Chinese nationals, aged 28 and 34, were arrested for being involved with duty-unpaid cigarettes. A follow-up search of the two men’s flat in Sims Avenue also uncovered another three packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
A total of 3,784 cartons and 1,363 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized over the two days, with the total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounting to about $304,210 and $22,540 respectively. Investigations are ongoing.
See the full press release here.