Singapore – On March 11 (Monday), the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) confiscated 6,000 cigarettes hidden in gaming machines at a warehouse in Tuas Avenue 3.
A press release on March 13 by the ICA stated the discovery of the smuggled items hidden in 10 “Game Machines” in a 40-foot container at the warehouse.
Anomalies were detected by officers studying the scanned images of the declared consignment form of the container and its items. The container was presented for clearance at the Pasir Panjang Scanning Station.
While checking the machines, officers wondered why they were locked. The machines were then pried open for closer inspection.
The officers found the machines were hollow inside and contained cigarettes wrapped in black bundles.
According to Singapore Customs, the duty to be paid per 100 sticks was approximately S$85.40 depending on the weight of the individual sticks. In addition these are also subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
For the 6,000 cartons of cigarettes, “total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded amounted to about $512,400 and $37,780 respectively,” stated the ICA.
The case has been handed over to Singapore Customs for further investigation.
“Safeguarding Singapore’s borders remains ICA’s top priority. ICA will continue to conduct security checks on passengers, cargo and vehicles at various checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contraband across our borders,” said the ICA.
“The same method of concealment used by contraband smugglers may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attacks in Singapore,” they added.
Smugglers never seem to run out of ideas when trying to sneak items across the border. The ICA has been vocal in exposing the failed attempts and continues to emphasize their zero-tolerance for such acts.
It was only a few days ago when ICA officers seized five modified cars containing contraband at the Woodlands Checkpoint. The smugglers tried to hide the illegal cigarettes in every nook and cranny possible.