Categories: Latest NewsSingapore

Migrant Worker Gets S$500 Fine For Smoking Illegal Cigarette, Sum Almost The Same As His Salary

Migrant Worker Receives S$500 Fine For Smoking Illegal Cigarette In Marine Parade

The duties on local goods can exact a pretty hefty price for foreign workers. However, one worker paid a heavier price in his attempt to avoid footing for the full duty-paid pack.

He was taking a break from work at Marine Parade when he decided to smoke a duty-unpaid cigarette. Unfortunately, Customs officers caught him in the act.

As a result of the offence, the worker had to pay a S$500 fine.

Migrant worker smokes illegal cigarette in Marine Parade

The Straits Times (ST) reports that the incident occurred on 9 Oct in Marine Parade.

Source: Andres Siimon on Unsplash

The worker was on painting duty when he took a break, smoking a contraband cigarette. Customs officers then caught him doing so during an operation.

He had hidden the illegal cigarettes within an empty duty-paid pack. A local packet, he said, was too expensive for his salary.

“The ones I buy from the dormitory are only S$5,” he added.

For his offence, the worker received a fine of S$500. According to ST, this amount comprised nearly a month of his salary.

He confessed that he would not be perusing such cigarettes again, as it is not worth it.

Operation to nab workers smoking illegal cigarettes

Singapore Customs officers conducted the operation on 9 Oct, keeping a lookout for workers smoking duty-unpaid cigarettes, ST reports.


In total, they managed to catch 33 workers between the ages of 32 and 70 in the act, in areas such as Chinatown and Geylang.

Nine were Singaporeans, with the rest being foreigners of different nationalities.

25 of the 33 offenders received fines between S$500 and S$1,300 for possessing illegal cigarettes. Two were issued advisories, with another six now under investigation for offences according to the Customs Act.

During the operation, officers managed to seize 380 sticks of contraband cigarettes.

Purchasing, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, possessing or dealing contraband goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act.

Offenders may face a fine of up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST avoided, a jail term of up to six years, or both.

The vehicles used to commit the offences will also be seized by Customs.

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Featured image adapted from Reza Mehrad on Unsplash.

Sudeshna Dhar

Sudeshna is a lover of all romcoms, especially Gone Girl (2014).

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