Everyone should be aware of the dangers of harbouring unpaid duty cigarettes. There was a case last September involving a 46-year-old man who stored unpaid duty cigarette boxes, which according to the Singapore Customs, totalled of 1,470 cartoons.
Starting last March, cigarettes without the SPDC (Singapore Duty Paid Cigarette) mark are considered illegal. You will know if cigarettes are SPDC-approved if it holds the SPDC mark together with a sequence of vertical bars surrounding the cigarette. The act of buying, selling, suggesting, hoarding or dealing anything is against the Customs Act and the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Act.
If you are caught having “duty-unpaid” in your possession, you will also be reprimanded. This is to remind all Singaporeans, visitors and other people that the Customs is serious about it. The offenders will surely be reprimanded. Offenders will be fined and jailed.
For first time offenders relating to tobacco offences, they will face a minimum fine of S$2000–4000. For repeat offenders who are caught holding more than two kilograms of tobacco, they will be sentenced to jail time of up to six years. The public are encouraged to be vigilant. If you witness any smuggling activities or dodging of Customs duties or GST, you should call the Singapore Customs right away.
Do not patronize unpaid duty cigarettes and other unregulated merchandise because you can be punished too. So, to be safe, ask questions or look for certifying papers. If you do not know the law about this, you will not be spared. Remember, ignorance of the law excuses no one.