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Tougher penalties to curb tobacco smuggling


Contractors dumping cartons of contraband cigarettes seized by Singapore Customs into a refuse truck before taking them for incineration. — ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

By Tessa Wong

Tobacco and cigarette smugglers now face stiffer penalties, including mandatory jail time and increased fines.

These were among several changes made in Parliament on Tuesday to laws on Customs, goods and services tax (GST), and stamp duty.

Minister of State for Finance Josephine Teo explained the need to increase Customs enforcement.

She noted that from 2005 to last year, the number of tobacco-related Customs offences went up by 24 per cent. These offences range from smuggling and buying to selling and possessing cigarettes and tobacco products which have not had their duties paid.

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