Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Tuesday that it four men have been arrested for dealing with more than 4,500 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes. The authorities said in a press release that the suspects, including three Indian nationals and a Malaysian, were arrested on Sunday during a follow-up operation.
The ICA officers directed a bowser truck, driven by the Malaysian suspect, for inspection at the Woodlands Checkpoint at about 3.45 am on Sunday. While checks, an ICA officer noticed anomalies in the scanned image of the Malaysian-registered truck and informed the Singapore Customs immediately.
When the custom officials were conducting a follow-up search, they spotted two Singapore-registered trucks next to the bowser truck at Tuas View Cresecent.
The press release added that three men were then seen alighting from one of the trucks and transferring goods from the bowser to the other truck.
According to the media release, a total of 4,567 cartons and 80 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found by the custom officers.
The authorities arrested the three Indian nationals, while the Malaysian driver was arrested later at the Tuas Checkpoint. ICA have seized the cigarettes, along with the bowser truck and the other two trucks.
ICA said that the amount of total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded was about S$355,020 and S$26,310 respectively. The investigations are still going on.
Under the Customs Act and the GST Act, buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, possessing or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences . ICA said that offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years. Vehicles used in the commission of such offences are also liable to be forfeited.
"Our borders are our first line of defence in safeguarding Singapore's security. The security checks are critical to our nation's security," the authorities said in the statement.
The press release added that ICA will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle in undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contrabands. The same methods of concealment used by contraband smugglers may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attacks in Singapore.