A COUPLE of days after the start of the June school holidays, smugglers attempted to smuggle duty-unpaid cigarettes with a broken down bus that had to be towed into Singapore via the Woodlands Checkpoint.
A Malaysian male was caught by the ICA officers at Woodlands Checkpoint for attempting to smuggle contraband cigarettes into Singapore at midnight on June 3.
ICA officers discovered close to 1,000 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes. The potential customs duty and GST payable for the duty-unpaid cigarettes amount to over $70,000 and $6,300 respectively.
Everything seemed normal, on the surface -- a Singapore-registered tow truck towing a broken down Malaysia-registered bus into the Republic.
The floorboard of the luggage compartment which looked relatively newer than the rest of the old vehicle raised the suspicions of the ICA officers. The silicone lining and the paint along the floorboard gave out a pungent smell.
On prying open the floorboard of the luggage compartment, the ICA officers discovered close to 1,000 cartons (199,960 sticks) of duty-unpaid cigarettes. The potential customs duty and GST payable for the duty-unpaid cigarettes amount to over $70,000 and $6,300 respectively.
When questioned, the Malaysian, aged 31, claimed that he was a relief driver and a Malaysian male by the name of "Louis" had instructed him to fetch some passengers from Jalan Skudai to Singapore.
After clearance at Woodlands Checkpoint, he was supposed to leave the bus at the mosque near the checkpoint and await further instructions. However, his attempt failed prior to reaching the checkpoint.
The case was referred to Singapore Customs for further investigations. Upon conviction by the court, offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty evaded and jailed for up to six years.