SINGAPORE – Six separate attempts to smuggle contraband cigarettes were foiled by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in September, including five cases where the cigarettes were found in suspicious bulges under the smugglers’ clothes.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (Oct 2), ICA said the duty-unpaid cigarettes were hidden in the hip and groin areas of the suspects, as well as around the waist, ankles, socks and boots that they wore.

The authority also noted that such methods of concealment are a cause for concern since people with ill intent can smuggle restricted or prohibited items into Singapore in similar ways.

From Sept 9 to 20, five men – three Singaporeans, a Malaysian and a Russian – attempted to bring contraband cigarettes into Singapore by hiding them under their clothes.

The 39-year-old Malaysian man was found to be carrying 10 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes around his hip and groin area.

In a sixth case on Sunday, ICA officers uncovered 40 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes in the luggage of a 55-year-old Romanian man, who was caught after officers found anomalies in the scanned images of his bag.

In total, the ICA seized 78 packets and 40 loose sticks of duty-unpaid cigarettes from the six men.

Those found in possession of duty-unpaid cigarettes will have to pay up to $5,000 out of court or be charged in court, depending on the severity of the offence.