SINGAPORE – When an alcohol supplier heard that others in the industry were siphoning off-duty, unpaid liquor for illegal sale, they struck a deal with them to sell their inventory.
For a fee, the syndicate helped Ng Yin Hon conceal duty-unpaid alcohol sales to customers and evade approximately $500,000 in taxes.
Ng, 35, was part of the largest and longest running syndicate operation involving duty-unpaid alcohol found in Singapore, the court heard.
Total tax evasion amounted to about $25 million.
On Wednesday, Ng pleaded guilty to tax evasion and was fined $2.9 million.
If the fine is not paid by October 24, 40 months in prison will be imposed.
The court heard that the syndicate illegally sold liquor here by diverting duty-unpaid alcohol intended for consumption only on board ships calling at Singapore ports or in areas permitted by Singapore Customs. rice field.
Such alcohol is considered an export and is therefore exempt from taxes, said Deputy Prosecutor Jordon Lee.
Without paying taxes, the syndicate would make an illegal profit selling alcohol at a much lower price than other legal sellers, he added.
The syndicate was formed in 2017 by Lim Wei Luen, now 41, and Teo Tian Sung, 56, to handle ship supplies.
They stored duty-unpaid alcohol in licensed warehouses here and purchased duty-unpaid alcohol from suppliers who sold it to vessels.
The group subsequently formed nine shell entities that were declared exporters of alcohol.
To forge the necessary permits, they paid a shipping agent to give the details of the auxiliary police officers on duty. The details were contained in a forged permit to make it look like the real thing.
They also paid drivers to move the liquor to storage warehouses, from which the syndicate illegally delivered duty-unpaid alcohol to buyers.
In 2018, Ng learned that Teo was illegally selling alcohol tax-free and saw an opportunity to sell his stake to his client, Shiva Reuben Sritharan, 49.
For a fee, Teo agreed to forge a permit to cover Ng’s illegal sales.
On at least 60 occasions in 2019, Ng incorrectly declared exports of approximately 40,000 bottles of liquor and approximately 100,000 cans of beer, which were intended to be delivered only to customs-approved territories. rice field.
Tax evasion amounted to nearly $500,000, according to DPP Li, who sought a $2,990,018.10 fine for Ng.
The crime came to light during a sting operation to catch the syndicate in November 2019. A customs officer discovered a truck unloading duty-unpaid alcohol in an unlicensed warehouse, leading to his arrest.
Ng is one of 12 people who have been brought to court for their involvement in the syndicate.
Theo was previously jailed for a year and fined $48 million, while Lim was fined $28 million.