Officers from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) were conducting their usual rounds of checks on vessels within Singapore waters when a call from the Police Coast Guard (PCG) broke the momentum. Immediately, the ICA Anti-Smuggling Team (AST) responded to the call and sped off towards the direction of Jurong Island.
- Within a short span of ten minutes, the ICA AST officers had joined our PCG colleagues on board a white passenger vessel which had been stopped at sea off Jurong Island. The vessel was empty except for two Indonesian crew members.
Sea voyage ends
- As the ICA officers conducted a check in the passenger cabin, they noticed a piece of the floor mat protruding and taped to the floor. When asked to remove the floor mat which was covering a manhole, the two men hesitated. Nevertheless, the ICA AST officers once more firmly requested them to open up the manhole for checks. As soon as it was opened, some packages of contraband cigarettes wrapped in black plastic bags were detected.
No tough feat for our well-trained officers
- In all, a total of 2,500 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes was found stashed within the manhole. The total value of the contraband cigarettes is about $240,900 while the potential customs duty and GST payable for the cigarettes amounted to about $197,000 and $16,800 respectively.
Total exhibits uncovered
- Preliminary investigation by the ICA officers revealed that the 43-year-old master, Abdul Rahman had been told to receive the contraband cigarettes from a speedboat off Pulau Sudong and thereafter he was to unload the consignment at the northern Tuas Basin. He had been promised a sum of S$5 for every carton of cigarettes smuggled in his vessel while the other 28-year-old crew member, Syahrizal, had been promised S$1 for each carton. Both men were charged in Court on 20 August and sentenced to 33 months imprisonment each. The vessel used in the commission of the offence has also been detained and is liable for forfeiture. Once again, the collaborative efforts by ICA and PCG officers have been successful in foiling another smuggling attempt at sea.
- Upon conviction by the court, first time offenders can be fined up to 20 times the amount of duty evaded and liable to a jail term not exceeding three years. For second or subsequent convictions, offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty evaded and jailed for up to six years. The offenders also face further fines based on the amount of GST evaded.