Vietnamese contraband cigarette peddlers nabbed in Singapore

vietnamese-contraband-cigarette-peddlersSingapore Customs have smashed a Vietnamese peddling ring dealing in contraband cigarettes and arrested 18 Vietnamese.

Over 1,500 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes worth more than S$15,300 were seized in the pre-dawn operation.

The duty and goods and services tax (GST) evaded exceeded S$12,600.

Officers arrested three men in Kaki Bukit and Tampines Place.

Two of them were sentenced on 4 April for their involvement in peddling contraband cigarettes.

They now face a S$37,000 court fine or in default three months’ jail.

Officers also raided a chalet at East Coast Parkway which was used by the peddling ring as a “nest” and arrested 15 Vietnamese there.

Over at Lorong 17 Geylang, the peddling ring had concealed more than 1,020 packets of contraband cigarettes in a manhole. Officers had earlier spotted one of the peddlers retrieving cigarettes from the manhold.

Investigations showed that these Vietnamese peddlers had been hired by their fellow Vietnamese to peddle contraband cigarettes in Kaki Bukit, Tampines and Geylang.

Seven of the Vietnamese were referred to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) for investigation into immigration-related offences.

Court proceedings are still on-going for other Vietnamese involved in this peddling ring.

Buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offences under the Customs Act and the GST Act.

Offenders will be severely dealt with.

Repeat offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years.

The minimum court fines for first-time and repeat offenders of tobacco-related offences are S$2,000 and S$4,000 respectively.

Repeat offenders who are caught with more than two kilogrammes of tobacco products will also face mandatory imprisonment.

 Source: CNA


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