Yishun Warehouse Cigarettes Were Worth $1.5 Million In GST & Tobacco Duties

Since no one’s been out and about this ‘Circuit Breaker‘, many Singaporeans were surprised when Singapore Customs announced their biggest contraband cigarette bust this year.

They found over 17,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes stashed in metal cabinets in an Yishun warehouse, issuing arrests for 4 men for the crime.

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17,250 cartons of cigarettes hidden in cabinets

Singapore Customs officers uncovered the contraband cigarettes at a warehouse along Yishun Street 23 on Wednesday (27 May).

As the operation commenced, officers witnessed a man using a forklift to remove metal cabinets from the container.

2 other men helped to unpack duty-unpaid cigarettes from 16 cabinets in total.

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All 16 metal storage units carried a total of 17,250 cartons contraband cigarettes, stated the press release.

The illegal cartons of cigarettes were then placed back into the container, right before officers stepped in to arrest the 3 individuals.

A 35-year-old man was later arrested on the same day (27 May), for his involvement in the crime.

Over $1.5 million in GST & tobacco duties evaded

These 4 men will be charged for the crime of evading Goods & Service Tax (GST) & tobacco duties amounting to over S$1.5 million.

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Specifically, tobacco duty incurred was $1,473,150 while GST evaded was $119,270.

ICA found scans suspicious

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) first became aware of the contraband cigarettes on 27 May, around 12pm.

ICA officers instructed a prime mover carrying an attached container to undergo more stringent checks at Pasir Panjang Scanning Station.

The scanned images of the mover and container appeared suspicious.

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Further checking by ICA officers revealed contraband, duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Singapore Customs took over from there, investigating the issue and eventually arresting the 4 men at the warehouse in Yishun.

Could face up to 6 years’ jail & a heavy fine

If found guilty, offenders could face up to 6 years’ jail and 40 times the amount of duty & GST evaded.

All 4 men were charged in court on Monday (29 May) and legal proceedings are ongoing, shared ICA & Singapore Customs.

Largest haul seized in a single operation

Seizing the largest haul of contraband cigarettes this year is a big win for both ICA and Singapore Customs, and we applaud them for their vigilance.

We have our officers to thank for keeping our borders secure, even as we exit the Circuit Breaker.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.