14 July 2011
It was revealed by IRAS that two male Indian nationals – Pakkiri Mohamed Abdul Karim, 43, and Perumal Sugumaran, 42 – and a Singaporean man, 74, were arrested for cheating on the Tourist Refund Scheme by conspiring to retain 11 pieces of “Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunded” jewellery in Singapore.
On 6 June 2011, Pakkiri, who was scheduled to depart for India later that day, approached Customs Officers at the GST Refund counter at the transit area of Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, holding a pouch containing 11 pieces of jewellery and their purchase receipts. After collecting the GST refund for the jewellery, Pakkiri proceeded to the transit area and handed over the pouch to a Singaporean man, who was later found to be holder of an airport access pass. Pakkiri then left for the boarding area, after tearing and disposing the receipts.
The Singaporean man placed the pouch inside his pocket and left the transit area. He then proceeded to the Departure Hall, where he was joined by Perumal. Sensing that something was amiss, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority officers moved in to check on them, and found the pouch of jewellery on Perumal. He was arrested immediately. The Singaporean man and Pakkiri were also apprehended.
Investigations by Singapore Customs revealed that Pakkiri had planned to leave the jewellery with Perumal, and to collect it back on the following Friday upon his planned return to Singapore. Aware that he was not allowed to bring goods into Singapore after the GST claims for such goods had been made, he sought help from the Singaporean man to hand over the jewellery to Perumal.
Pakkiri and Perumal were each sentenced to a Court fine of $3,000 or, in default, three weeks’ imprisonment. Investigations are still ongoing for the Singaporean offender. The jewellery involved was worth more than $18,000, with GST exceeding $1,000.
Information on the scheme can be found in the e-Tax guides, ‘Guide to Visitors on Tourist Refund Scheme’ and ‘Guide to Retailers operating Tourist Refund Scheme’, on the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore website, or the Singapore Customs website under ’Information for Travellers’.