According to the Singapore Customs, a company director was sentenced by the State Courts on 15 June to a fine of $28,260, or in default 113 days’ imprisonment, for importing and storing duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Two days earlier on 13 June, a Singapore Customs officers had trailed a parcel, declared to contain “towels and magazines”. The parcel was delivered to an office in the Marina Bay Financial Centre where a staff of the company received the parcel on behalf of her employer, Yin Xidi , a 45-year old Chinese national.

In the same day, Singapore Customs officers arrived at Yin’s residential unit in Marina Boulevard. In Yin’s presence, the officers opened the parcel and recovered nine cartons and 10 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes. Upon further search, officers recovered another 15 cartons, three packets and 16 sticks of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Investigations revealed that Yin had asked his friend overseas to send duty-unpaid cigarettes through parcel post to him for his own consumption. He was aware that the duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the cigarettes were not paid. A total of 24 cartons, 13 packets and 16 sticks of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized in this operation; with the total amount of duty and GST involved amounting to about $1,960 and $140 respectively.

Yeo Ban Meng, head of suppression and community engagement, Singapore Customs, said: “Those who think they can avoid detection by importing duty-unpaid cigarettes through parcel post should think twice.”

“Stringent checks are conducted on parcel posts. We are keeping a close watch and such offenders will be prosecuted in accordance with the law,” he continued.

Under the Customs Act, any person who is guilty of importing dutiable goods with the intention to defraud the Government of any duty and GST will be liable on conviction to a fine of up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years. Repeat offenders who are caught with more than two kilogrammes of tobacco products will also face mandatory imprisonment

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