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A Singaporean man, Tang Yong Hoe (陈荣和), 43, was fined $105,000, in default seven months’ imprisonment, by the State Courts on 27 September 2021 for fraudulent evasion of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and for abetting another person to furnish false information to Singapore Customs.
Tang is the sole director of freight forwarding company I-Do Logistics Pte Ltd (“I-Do”). Besides the two charges, another charge of fraudulent evasion of GST and two other charges of making incorrect declarations were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Facts of the Case
On 31 July 2018, Singapore Customs officers inspected a container imported by I-Do, whose business is to import consolidated consignments from its business partner in China, before subsequently sorting and delivering the goods to the respective consignees in Singapore. An investigation was initiated after discrepancies were found in the packing lists and the values submitted by I-Do for goods belonging to two consignees.
During the investigation, the two consignees provided packing lists with false values of the goods when requested by Singapore Customs. One of the consignees, Zhang Feng (张凤) had obtained the packing list from I-Do and provided it to Singapore Customs, despite knowing that the values on the packing list were false. The 44-year-old Singapore permanent resident did so to prevent Singapore Customs from detecting discrepancies between the declared and actual values of her goods. She was sentenced by the State Courts on 28 July 2021 to a fine of $2,000 for furnishing false information.
Investigations also established that Tang had instigated the other consignee to provide Singapore Customs with lower values of goods based on I-Do’s packing list instead of the actual values. Tang pleaded guilty to one charge of abetting the consignee to furnish false information to a Customs officer and was sentenced to a fine of $5,000, in default one months’ imprisonment. Court proceedings against the consignee are on-going.
Further investigations revealed that between March 2017 and September 2018, Tang had falsely declared the values of goods in import permits. He had used the packing lists obtained from his Chinese business partner to apply for permits, despite knowing that the values indicated in the packing lists were false and under-stated. Tang did so to pay lesser GST on the imported goods to lower his business costs. He pleaded guilty to one charge of fraudulent evasion of GST involving 67 permits totaling $16,842.42 in GST evaded and was sentenced to a fine of $100,000, in default six months’ imprisonment. A similar charge involving 13 permits totaling $3,361.60 in GST evaded was taken into consideration during sentencing.
Stiff Penalties for GST Evasion, Incorrect Declaration and Furnishing False Information
Any person who is in any way concerned in any fraudulent evasion of, or attempt to fraudulently evade, any customs duty or excise duty shall be guilty of an offence and will be liable on conviction to a fine of up to 20 times the amount of duty and GST evaded.
Any person who makes any declaration which is untrue, incorrect or incomplete will be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000, or the equivalent of the amount of the customs duty, excise duty or tax payable, whichever is higher, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.
Any person who furnishes as true information or document which he knows or has reason to believe to be false shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.
Members of public with information on smuggling activities or evasion of customs duty or GST can call the Singapore Customs hotline on 1800-2330000 or email email@example.com to report these illegal activities.