A repeat offending ang hoon importer and wholesaler has been fined $1.01 million and jailed for eight months after in the State Courts.
Ng Teck Beng, 46, was caught wholesaling ang hoon without a valid tobacco import and wholesale licence, and storing duty-unpaid ang hoon.
HSA and Singapore Customs have warned importers and retailers the sentence reflects how seriously the departments are taking the illegal supply of tobacco products.
“It is an offence under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act to import, distribute, sell or offer for sale, or have in possession for sale any tobacco products without a valid tobacco import and wholesale licence or tobacco retail licence,” the regulatory authorities said in a statement.
Ng’s illegal dealings were uncovered when officers from the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and Singapore Customs, acting on a tip-off, raided two units in Golden Mile Complex on April 2, 2014. A total of 11,375 pouches, 51 slabs and three bags (106.26kg) of duty-unpaid ang hoon, were seized from the two units. The total duty and GST evaded exceeded $35,110. Investigations revealed that these premises were used by Ng to deal in duty-unpaid ang hoon.
Ng, the sole proprietor of Wei Teck Distribution, was issued a tobacco import and wholesale licence in October 2005. However, he was convicted in April 2013 for the possession of duty-unpaid tobacco. His licence, which was suspended by HSA for six months, subsequently expired.
Nevertheless, Ng continued to supply more than 65,000 pieces of ang hoon to other business entities between December 2013 and March 2014. He pleaded guilty to 20 charges of wholesaling ang hoon without a valid tobacco import and wholesale licence. For this, he was fined $63,900, or in default 51 weeks’ imprisonment. 41 other charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing.
Ng also pleaded guilty to two charges of storing duty-unpaid ang hoon. He was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment and $955,000 in fines, or in default 10 months’ imprisonment. Two other charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing. Ng began serving his sentence on 11 December 2015.
The penalty is a fine of up to $5,000 for the first offence and a fine of up to $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence.
Under the Customs Act and the GST Act, those caught buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, possessing or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are liable to a fine of up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, or imprisonment for up to six years, or both.
The minimum court fines for first-time and repeat offenders of tobacco-related offences are $2000 and $4000 respectively. Repeat offenders who are caught with more than two kilograms of tobacco products will also face mandatory imprisonment.
Members of the public with information on the supply of tobacco products without a valid licence can call HSA’s Tobacco Regulation Branch at Tel: 6684 2036 or 6684 2037 during office hours (9:00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday). If they have information on smuggling activities or evasion of customs duty or GST, they can contact the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-2330000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org