Thursday, May 15, 2008



The standard price of a pack of 20’s cigarette in Singapore can cost you anyway from $10 to $11 dollars. That with today’s exchange rate of of 2.30 per dollar to ringgit is equivalent to RM 24.00, whereases in Malaysia it cost around RM 8.00.

Its really a heft sum. Due the large difference in price, cigarette smuggling into Singapore has become a big business. Even though the customs officials have come down hard on these people, but due to the large profits to be made, the smugglers still continue to play cat and mouse games.

A duty unpaid pack would normally cost about $5.00 (RM11.50). Many Singaporeans also make trips to johor baru to purchase cigarette and fill up petrol daily. At the customs checkpoint, you are required to declare you cigarette and pay duty, but many people will just hide the cigarette and avoid paying the duty.

But if smoke duty unpaid cigarette in Singapore, be prepared to be stopped by plainclothes inspector who comb the roads. You can be stopped anytime by these offices

And fined if you are unable to show proof that the pack is duty paid. And you will have to pay as much as $200 (RM460) per pack, on the spot.

Even with such strict penalty and fines, the pull of making money is still strong for some people. Like this case of a man wearing a coat and tie, trying to fool the authority:

He was well-dressed and drove a brand-new car.

The 30-year-old man, who was dressed in suit and tie, arrived at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Wednesday in his brand new Sports Utility Vehicle.

Upon checking, officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) found cartons of cigarettes hidden in the speaker box compartment in the car boot.

A total of 100 cartons of duty-unpaid cigarettes was found hidden in the vehicle. The man was arrested and his vehicle seized.

The case has been referred to Singapore Customs for further investigations.

If found guilty, first time offenders can be fined up to a maximum of 20 times the amount of duty evaded. Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to two years and fined. - CNA/de

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