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1.2 million contraband cigarette sticks seized

Thursday, Jul 21, 2011

SINGAPORE – Police have seized over 60,000 packets of contraband cigarettes following a three-day crackdown on a distribution network operating in Hougang, Bedok and Yishun.

Three locals and a Chinese national were arrested in the sting operation between July 5 and 7. The contraband amounted to a total of 1.2 million sticks, with tax and duty evasion exceeding $450,000.

Three vehicles – a saloon car and two goods trucks – used by the syndicate members were also seized by authorities.

Singaporean Ang Wee Koon, 37, was the first to be arrested. On July 5, police uncovered 36,240 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in his truck in Bedok. Ang has been charged and sentenced to 21 months of jail.

After a follow-up surveillance operation on July 6 and 7, three others – Chinese national Chen Zushun, 38, Mohamed Shah bin Jantan, 50, and Tan Boon Kiat, 55 – were arrested.

Chen was found with 23,773 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in his Yishun flat. Police observed him collecting 10 boxes of contraband cigarettes from Shah and Tan, who had made a delivery to the carpark below his housing block.

Shah and Tan subsequently drove off in their goods truck and car to a Hougang carpark. They were nabbed after police witnessed Shah handing over a box of cigarettes to Tan.

Shah has since been charged and sentenced to 20 months’ jail. Court proceedings are still ongoing for Tan and Chen.

Under the Customs Act and the GST Act, repeat offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded and/or jailed for up to six years.

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