Smugglers try to pull a fast one with legit packaging

illegal-cigarettes The Singapore Customs recently realised that that has been an influx of illegal cigarettes in the black market.

They also pointed out that ccigarettes bearing the brand “Moon Mountain” are currently not supplied by any local tobacco importer or wholesaler licensed by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA).

The customs believe that these cigarettes are being smuggled into Singapore by syndicates.

The cigarettes resemble legitimate cigarettes of other brands in that they come in packets showing the usual pictorial health warning.

The customs have been monitoring syndicate activities involving “Moon Mountain” cigarettes and recently mounted an operation that netted a seizure of 32,000 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes, with 16,500 packets being “Moon Mountain” cigarettes.

A recent hesit by the customs rounded up three Singaporeans and one Chinese national.

A recent hesit by the customs rounded up three Singaporeans and one Chinese national.

The total duty and GST evaded was almost $300,000.

Four men – three Singaporeans and one Chinese national – were arrested for alleged smuggling of the cigarettes. Two locally registered vehicles were also seized in the operation.

At about 7.15 pm, four men were spotted, together with the targeted truck and a gold-coloured Nissan Sunny. Midway through their illicit transactions, officers moved in and arrested the men.

The Chinese national, who was earlier seen receiving the loot, resisted the arrest and tried to flee. One of the Singaporean men quickly drove off in his Nissan Sunny towards the Bedok Reservoir.

A total of 32,000 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes, with 16,500 packets being "Moon Mountain" cigarettes were seized.

A total of 32,000 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes, with 16,500 packets being 'Moon Mountain' cigarettes were seized.

However, he was soon caught at a traffic junction. Two of the men will be charged in court on 18 March 2011, with the Chinese national facing two additional charges for overstaying in Singapore and assault.

The Singapore Customs warned that “Moon Mountain” cigarettes are illegal in Singapore and members of the public should not buy or be in possession of this particular brand of cigarettes.

source: news.asiaone.com

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