SINGAPORE – A man who was caught dealing in contraband cigarettes for the fourth time was jailed for 3½ years, or 42 months, and fined $10.416 million on Wednesday (July 17).
As he did not pay the fine, he will serve another two years and four months in jail, or 28 months.
Raymond Soh Tian Khoon, 53, was first convicted on Oct 17, 2006, for delivering 200 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes, and jailed for 10 months.
In 2012, Soh was caught for delivering 850 cartons of contraband cigarettes.
He was caught a third time in 2013, while on bail for his 2012 offence, for importing 90 cartons and 604 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes.
Soh was convicted on Feb 12, 2014, and sentenced to 14 months’ jail and fined $352,000 for his repeated offences in 2012 and 2013.
In the latest case, Soh and five other men were arrested on April 12, 2017, by Singapore Customs officers during an operation at an industrial building in Bukit Batok Street 23.
The officers seized 3,948 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes, a truck and two cars during the operation.
According to investigations, Soh coordinated the delivery of the cigarettes, directing one of the men to drive the truck to the industrial building.
He also texted the details of the delivery location to another man, who went with three other men to collect the cigarettes from the truck and load them into the cars to distribute across Singapore.
These five others who were arrested have been jailed for between eight and 39 months.
Said Mr Yeo Sew Meng, the assistant director-general of intelligence and investigation at the Singapore Customs: “Soh is a recalcitrant who had repeatedly smuggled duty-unpaid cigarettes thinking that he could get away each time.”
Under the Customs Act, repeat offenders will receive heavier sentences and those caught with more than 2kg of tobacco products may face a mandatory jail term.
Those convicted of possessing or dealing in duty-unpaid goods may be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and good and services tax evaded.
They may also be jailed for up to six years.
Vehicles which are used during such offences may also be seized.