Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Anti-Smuggling Team and its Police Coast Guard (PCG) recently confiscated almost 2,400 cartons of cigarettes and 40 packets of loose tobacco that were being illegally imported. The load, which was seized from a barge and tugboat at Jurong Wharf, is estimated to be worth around $456,900.
Most of the cigarette cartons were wrapped in black plastic bags, of which there were a total of 49. These were stored in a manhole on the port side of the boat. Another six paper boxes full of cigarettes and tobacco were found in the ballast tank. The load contained a variety of different cigarette brands.
The boat had arrived from Batu Ampar, on Batam island in Indonesia, for a routine inspection last Thursday. The boat had a crew of three, all of whom admitted to helping smuggle the goods from Batam to Singapore.
The barge's 44-year-old master admitted to owning the contraband. All three men had promised $3 per carton, which they were to share between themselves. Singapore's penalty for importing uncustomed goods can be a fine of up to twenty times the value of the duty evaded, and up to three years' jail time.
The crew and their bounty have been handed over to the Singapore Customs for further investigation.
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