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Man jailed, fined S$10.5 million for dealing with 3,928 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes

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

Jason Fan | July 17, 09:12 pm

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A 53-year-old man was sentenced on July 17, 2019 to 42 months’ jail and a fine of S$10.4 million for dealing with duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Raymond Soh Tian Khoon is a repeat offender previously convicted of two other charges of dealing with duty-unpaid goods.

As he did not pay the fine, he will serve an additional 28 months’ jail.

On Apr. 12 2017, Singapore Customs officers led an operation to seize 3,948 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes from an industrial building in Bukit Batok Street 23.

A Singapore-registered truck and two Malaysia-registered cars were also seized during the operation.

Soh was arrested along with five other men. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about S$323,120 and S$23,850 respectively.

Soh had coordinated the delivery of the duty-unpaid cigarettes, according to investigations.

He engaged one of the men to drive a truck loaded with duty-unpaid cigarettes to the industrial building in Bukit Batok Street 23.

He would then text the details of the delivery location to his accomplices, who would collect the duty-unpaid cigarettes from the truck. The cigarettes will then be distributed to various locations in Singapore.

The five other men arrested have also been sentenced to between eight and 39 months’ jail.

Soh was previously convicted and sentenced to 10 months’ jail on Oct. 17 2006 for delivering 200 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

In 2012, he was caught delivering 850 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

In 2013, while on bail for his 2012 offence, he was caught for importing 90 cartons and 604 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Assistant Director-General (Intelligence & Investigation) Yeo Sew Meng from Singapore Customs described Soh as “a recalcitrant who had repeatedly smuggled duty-unpaid cigarettes thinking he could get away each time.”

Another man, Lee Han Keat, 49, was also sentenced on July 8, 2019 to almost 34 months in jail and a fine of more than S$5.3 million, for dealing with duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Failing to pay the fine will earn him another 13 months in jail.

Lee is also a repeat offender, having previously been sentenced on December 23, 2017 to 50 weeks in jail for dealing with duty-unpaid cigarettes.

On September 18, 2018, Singapore Customs officers checked on Lee and a Vietnamese national, Nguyen Van Tuyen, 27, at an open carpark at Queensway.

A total of 1,792 cartons and 876 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were found within the van, along with S$11,000 in cash.

Both men were arrested, and a subsequent search of Lee’s residence led to the confiscation of another six cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

The duty and GST evaded amounted to about $178,450 and $13,000 respectively.

Nguyen was sentenced to 22 months’ jail on Nov. 5 2018.

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 and/or jailed up to six years.

Top Image via Singapore Customs/FB.

About Jason Fan

Jason is just a Mothership trainee who would live on a plane if he could.

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