SINGAPORE: Two men formerly employed by a licensed warehouse company were each sentenced to 56 months’ jail and fined S$25,000 for their roles in diverting duty—unpaid cigarettes that were meant for export to the local market.
Ong June Yong, 39, and Kwek Ngo Tee, 52, each pleaded guilty to 30 charges of causing untrue declarations to be made, falsifying permits and invoices, and conveying and dealing in duty—unpaid goods.
Another 90 charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing. The total duty and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evaded exceeded S$865,000.
Ong was sentenced on Monday and Kwek was sentenced last December.
The warehouse company that Ong and Kwek were working for was in the business of supplying provisions, including duty—free liquor and tobacco products, to cruise ships and other commercial vessels.
Throughout 2012, Ong had placed additional orders for duty—unpaid cigarettes on top of the quantity ordered by the cruise ship.
He passed these off as orders placed by the crew of the cruise ship. Separate invoices were issued for the real and fake orders.
On each of the 10 occasions, Ong then applied for two export permits for the duty—unpaid cigarettes.
When the permits were approved, Kwek collected the goods from the licensed warehouse for delivery to the cruise ship berthed at the Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC), where he presented the permits and goods for customs inspection.
Once the cigarettes ordered by the cruise ship were delivered to the ship, the ship’s master would endorse the permit and invoice for the goods ordered.
Kwek hid the remaining duty—unpaid cigarettes that were covered by the additional permit in his truck and drove out of SCC. These duty—unpaid cigarettes were then diverted for sale locally.
To make it appear that all the duty—unpaid cigarettes had been received by the ship’s master, Ong endorsed the additional permit and the invoice with a fake stamp. Both sets of permits and invoices were then returned to the warehouse company.
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