More cigarette smugglers arrested in 2007

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International:
· Asia
Source:Channel News Asia,2008-01-22
SINGAPORE : The number of people arrested for smuggling cigarettes last year has increased to 23,422, up 153 percent from the 9,267 nabbed in 2006.


A total of 1,314 of these offenders have been charged in court.


If convicted, they could be fined up to 20 times the duty and GST evaded or S$10,000 (whichever is greater), or jailed, or both.


Police said the spike in the number of arrests was due to intensified operations.


As for the quantity of cigarettes seized, this has fallen by 17 percent in 2007 to 4.4 million packs, down from 5.3 million in 2006.


The Police believe this is because smugglers are handling smaller quantities of contraband at one time.


In addition, syndicates have become more creative in concealing their contraband. Some hide their stash within rolls of carpets or even in coffins.


The Singapore Customs said the penalty of possessing contraband cigarettes has recently been raised to S$500.


It is also running an ongoing public awareness programme till March to warn the public of the severe penalties.


Those with information on smuggling activities can contact the Singapore Customs hotline at 1800-233-0000, or email them at [email protected] - CNA/de

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