SINGAPORE: A man has been sentenced to a fine of S$109,000, or more than 20 months’ jail in default, over incorrect customs declarations after tens of thousands of cartons of cigarettes and bottles of liquor were seized.
A total of 186,817 cartons of cigarettes, 25,662kg of other tobacco products and 57,464 bottles of liquor were seized and ordered to be forfeited, said Singapore Customs on Thursday (May 9).
Lim Boon Kheng, a former director of freight forwarding company Akarui, was sentenced on May 3 for making incorrect declarations, causing incorrect declarations to be made to Singapore Customs and breaching a permit condition, Singapore Customs said.
He had pleaded guilty to 26 charges, while another 44 charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing.
In 2014, the 52-year-old provided incorrect information to a declaring agent regarding the port of discharge, for the export of three shipments of cigarettes and other tobacco products, Singapore Customs said. This led to three incorrect declarations made to the Singapore Customs by the agent.
Between 2016 and 2017, Lim gave wrong details in 13 permit applications to Singapore Customs, regarding the shipping company, goods description and quantity of goods. The permits were for the transshipment of liquor and tobacco products through Singapore.
“Lim made the declarations to Singapore Customs despite knowing that the details were incorrect,” Singapore Customs said.
On 10 occasions, Lim breached a permit condition that required the dutiable goods to be stored in a place approved by Singapore Customs if they were not exported. Lim had stored dutiable liquor and tobacco products in the Keppel Free Trade Zone after removing them from a licensed warehouse, instead of exporting them, Singapore Customs said.
“It is the responsibility of freight forwarders and declaring agents to exercise due diligence when making declarations on behalf of their customers,” said Mr Yeo Sew Meng, Assistant Director-General for Intelligence and Investigation.
“They should submit complete and accurate information when making permit declarations and comply with all conditions imposed on the approved permits."
He added: “Singapore Customs will take stern actions against errant traders to maintain Singapore’s reputation as a trusted global trade hub.”
Those found guilty of making incorrect or incomplete declarations could be fined up to S$10,000 or the equivalent of the amount of the customs duty, excise duty or tax payable. They could also be jailed for up to 12 months.
The offence for breaching a condition and restriction for a licence or permit carries a maximum fine of S$5,000.