Seventeen men were arrested by Singaporean authorities at Sungei Jurong on Saturday for allegedly smuggling untaxed cigarettes into the country.

On January 26, 14 Indonesians and three Singaporeans, aged between 22 and 48, were intercepted by officers from the Police Coast Guard and the Singapore Customs at a joint operation, the Lianhe Wanbao (Singapore) reported.

A total of 3,740 cartons and 448 packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes were seized at the scene, with the total duty and goods and services tax (GST) evaded estimated to be about S$396,200 (US$292,726) and S$28,820 (US$21,293) respectively.

Two foreign-registered supply vessels and two Singapore-registered ones which were used by the suspects to smuggle the untaxed goods were also taken for further investigations by Singapore Customs.

Buying, selling, conveying, delivering, storing, keeping, having in possession or dealing with duty-unpaid goods are serious offenses under the Customs Act and the GST Act.

Offenders can be fined up to 40 times the amount of duty and GST evaded, and jailed for up to six years. Vehicles used in the commission of such offenses were also liable to be forfeited.