Company director fined S$50,000 for evading GST on imports of flashlights

10 September 2021 – SINGAPORE

A company director has been fined S$50,000 for evading Goods and Services Tax (GST) on shipments of LED flashlights and other accessories, Singapore Customs said on Friday (Sep 10).

Kong Ming Jie, 36, incorrectly declared the value of goods in the shipments. He also failed to retain documents relating to the imports, which is an offence under the Customs Act, said the agency.

The director of Nitecore Singapore was sentenced on Wednesday after pleading guilty to five charges, with another six charges taken into consideration.

He had short-paid a total of S$9,051 in GST.


The offences were uncovered in August 2019 when officers at Changi Airfreight Centre inspected shipments of LED flashlights and accessories imported by Nitecore.

The value of the goods for one of the shipments was declared as less than S$400. But the actual value was more than S$23,300, with GST payable at S$1,633.55, said Singapore Customs in a media release.

GST relief is granted on goods – excluding intoxicating liquors and tobacco – imported by post or air with a value not more than S$400.

“Understating the import values resulted in the non-payment of GST for this shipment,” the agency said.

Another shipment inspected later that month was underdeclared as well, resulting in short payment of S$563.41 in GST.

The value of the goods was declared as S$402.57, when the actual value was S$8,495.62, said Customs.

“Investigations revealed that between January and August 2019, Kong had underdeclared the value of flashlights and accessories in seven other shipments to evade the payment of GST,” said the agency.

“He also made an incorrect declaration of the value for a shipment of monoculars and optical telescopes.”

When asked to produce documents related to goods imported by Nitecore, Kong told investigators that he did not retain any import-related trade documents.

For this, he faced another charge of failing to retain documents and records relating to the importation of goods. The offence is punishable with a jail term of up to three years, a fine of up to S$10,000 or both.

Anyone guilty of fraudulently evading or attempting to evade any customs or excise duty can be fined up to 20 times the amount of duty or GST evaded.

Making an untrue, incorrect or incomplete declaration carries a penalty of up to 12 months’ jail, a fine of up to S$10,000 or the equivalent amount of duty or tax payable, whichever is higher, or both.

Original Post By Davina Tham

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