Tok Beng Tong, 42, a Singaporean, pleaded guilty to 58 customs offences including submitting false statements and declarations in applications for back-to-back certificates of origin (CO), and import and export permits. Another 119 charges were taken into consideration in the sentencing.
Investigations revealed that Tok, who is the director of Interasia SHH Pte Ltd, had imported boxes of zippers and sliders from China and subsequently re-exported the goods to various countries in Europe. However, when applying for export permits, he had falsely declared the country of origin of the goods as Indonesia, despite knowing that the goods originated from China.
Between August 2009 and March 2011, Tok also used certificates of origin which were not meant for his goods to apply for back-to-back preferential COs from Singapore Customs. A back-to-back preferential CO is issued by Singapore Customs for the export of goods that originated from other countries out of Singapore.
Tok obtained the back-to-back preferential COs certifying that his goods originated from Indonesia, which is a participant of the Generalised System of Preferences scheme of the European Union. Under this European Union scheme, the back-to-back preferential COs would allow Tok’s customers in Europe to pay lower tariffs when importing the “Indonesia-originated” zippers and sliders from Singapore.
Making false statements to obtain certificates of origin and fraudulent import and export permit declarations are serious offences under the Regulation of Imports and Exports Regulations. Singapore Customs will clamp down on such illegal activities to uphold Singapore’s reputation as a trusted global trade hub.
Anyone found guilty of making a false statement under the Regulation of Imports and Exports Regulations, on the first conviction, will be liable to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or three times the value of the goods in respect of which the offence was committed, whichever is the greater, or imprisonment for up to two years, or both.