Customs busts see 4 arrested, over 1,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes seized

(PHOTO: Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

Four men were arrested and over 1,000 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized by Singapore Customs officers earlier this week.

The contraband, which totalled 1,024 cartons and 710 packets, were worth $96,140 in duty and $7,060 in Good and Services Tax (GST), said Singapore Customs in a statement on Thursday (7 December). The busts were made over two related operations on Monday and Tuesday.

Three of the arrested men are Singaporeans, while the fourth is 32-year-old Chinese national Xu Songxin. Xu was spotted leaving a condominium unit at Holland Road during Monday’s operation. Officers then moved in to conduct a check on him and searched his room, where they found 260 cartons and 421 packets of duty unpaid cigarettes. He was immediately arrested.

Investigations revealed that Xu had been storing the goods in his room and was waiting for further instructions on their delivery. This led Singapore Customs officers to conduct another operation on Tuesday.

Officers tailed a car driven by one of the Singaporean men to a carpark at Jurong West Street 41, where they spotted the other two men transferring a box from a stationary van into the car. Officers then moved in to conduct a check and found 764 cartons as well as 289 packs of duty unpaid cigarettes.

The three men were arrested and their vehicles were seized. Xu was sentenced at the State Courts on Wednesday to six months’ imprisonment for storing duty-unpaid cigarettes. Investigations against the three Singaporean men are ongoing.

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