SINGAPORE - Eight men and two women were arrested for various offences involving duty-unpaid cigarettes, said Singapore Customs on Friday (Oct 16).
The 10 are aged between 23 and 69. They were arrested during seven separate operations across the island over a five-day period, from Oct 5 to Oct 9.
More than 2,600 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes were also seized, amounting to about $293,700 in duty and goods and services tax (GST) evaded.
Singapore Customs officers raided two Housing Board units in King George's Avenue and Serangoon North Avenue 4 in two separate raids.
Two Singaporean men and a male Chinese national were arrested. Some 639 cartons and 20 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized in these units, which had been used for storing and peddling the contraband goods, said Singapore Customs.
Three operations took place in Kang Ching Road, Eunos Industrial Park and Realty Park.
Singapore Customs said its officers foiled attempts to retrieve shipments of duty-unpaid cigarettes that were concealed in a metal oven, wooden shelves and an air purifier unit.
Two male Chinese nationals and a Singaporean woman were arrested and 1,596 cartons and 5,942 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized.
The last two operations were conducted in Yishun Ring Road and Jurong West Street 93.
Four Singaporeans, including three men and a woman, were arrested for storing and delivering duty-unpaid cigarettes. A total of 369 cartons and 908 packets of cigarettes were seized in the operations.
Court proceedings are ongoing for five of those arrested - four men and one woman - while investigations are under way for the remaining woman and four men.
In total, 2,604 cartons and 6,870 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized, as well as a vehicle.
The total duty and GST evaded amounted to about $317,290.
Singapore Customs said that 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 can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, jailed for up to six years, or both. Vehicles used in committing such offences can also be forfeited.
Those with information on smuggling activities or evasion of Customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-233-0000, e-mail email@example.com or use Customs @ SG mobile app to report these illegal activities.