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REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE
GOVERNMENT GAZETTE
ACTS SUPPLEMENT
Published by Authority

NO. 24] Friday, August 16 [1996

The following Act was passed by Parliament on 12th July 1996 and assented to by the President on 1st August 1996:—
Customs (Amendment) Act 1996

(No. 24 of 1996)


I assent.

ONG TENG CHEONG
President
1st August 1996.
Date of Commencement: 16th August 1996
Be it enacted by the President with the advice and consent of the Parliament of Singapore, as follows:
Short title and commencement
1.
—(1)  This Act may be cited as the Customs (Amendment) Act 1996 and shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may, by notification in the Gazette, appoint.
(2)  The Minister may appoint different dates for the coming into operation of the different provisions of this Act.
Amendment of section 3
2.  Section 3 of the Customs Act is amended —
(a)
by inserting, immediately after the definition of “alcohol” in subsection (1), the following definition:
“ “authentication code” means any identification or identifying code, password or any other authentication method or procedure which has been assigned to a registered user of the computer service referred to in section 90A for the purposes of identifying and authenticating the access to and use of the computer service by the registered user;”;
(b)
by inserting, immediately after the definition of “customs territory” in subsection (1), the following definition:
“ “database report” means any automatic log, journal or other report which is automatically generated by the computer service referred to in section 90A for the purposes of recording the details of a transaction relating to an electronic notice including the authentication code, date and time of receipt, storage location and any alteration or deletion relating to the notice;”;
(c)
by inserting, immediately after the definition of “dutiable goods” in subsection (1), the following definition:
“ “electronic notice” has the meaning assigned to it in section 90A(1);”;
(d)
by inserting, immediately after the definition of “Government warehouse” in subsection (1), the following definition:
“ “Green Channel” means any passage or area in a customs airport, railway station or customs station clearly indicated with a sign in the shape of a regular octagon and marked in green with the words “Customs” and “Nothing To Declare”;”;
(e)
by inserting, immediately after the definition of “proper officer of customs” in subsection (1), the following definitions:
“ “Red Channel” means any passage or area in a customs airport, railway station or customs station clearly indicated with a sign in the shape of a square marked in red with the words “Customs” and “Goods To Declare”;
“registered user” means a person who has been registered with and authorised by the Director-General to gain access to and use the computer service referred to in section 90A;”; and
(f)
by inserting, immediately after subsection (2), the following subsections:
(3)  In this Act, a reference to a document or record shall include, in addition to a document or record on paper, a reference to any, or part of any —
(a)
document or record kept on any magnetic, optical, chemical or other medium;
(b)
photograph;
(c)
map, plan, graph, picture or drawing;
(d)
film (including a microfilm and a microfiche), negative, disc, tape, sound-track or any other device in which one or more visual images, sounds or other data are embodied so as to be capable (with or without the aid of some other equipment) of being reproduced therefrom.
(4)  In this Act, a reference to a document or record in writing or the making of a document or record in writing shall, unless the context otherwise requires, include any electronic notice, or the making, serving or submitting of such a notice under the provisions of this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder.”.
Amendment of section 40
3.  Section 40(1) of the Customs Act is amended by inserting, immediately after the word “specify” at the end thereof, the words “except that the Director-General may refuse to accept any amendment made after the Director-General has been notified that investigations into any offence under any written law have commenced in connection with goods to which the manifest relates”.
New sections 90A to 90D
4.  The Customs Act is amended by inserting, immediately after section 90, the following sections:
Computer service
90A.
—(1)  The Director-General may establish and operate a computer service and make provision for any manifest, return, list, statement, declaration, direction, notice, permit, receipt or other document required or authorised by this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder to be made, served or submitted by electronic transmission (referred to in this Act as an electronic notice).
(2)  A registered user may, in accordance with the regulations made under subsection (11), make and serve an electronic notice to the computer account of the Director-General.
(3)  The Director-General or any person authorised by him may, in accordance with the regulations made under subsection (11), make and serve an electronic notice to the computer account of a registered user.
(4)  Where an electronic notice is transmitted to the computer account of the Director-General using the authentication code assigned to a registered user —
(a)
with or without the authority of the registered user; and
(b)
before the notification to the Director-General by the registered user in the prescribed manner, of cancellation of the authentication code,
that notice shall, for the purposes of this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder, be presumed to be made by the registered user unless he adduces evidence to the contrary; and where he alleges that he has transmitted no such notice, the burden is also on him to adduce evidence of that fact.
(5)  For the purposes of this Act, an electronic notice or a copy thereof shall not be inadmissible in evidence merely on the basis that it was transmitted without the making or delivery of any equivalent document or counterpart in paper form.
(6)  Notwithstanding any other written law, in any proceedings under this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder, an electronic notice or a copy thereof (including a print-out of that notice or copy) or any database report (including a print-out of that report) relating to that notice —
(a)
certified by the Director-General to contain all or any information transmitted in accordance with this section; and
(b)
duly authenticated in the manner specified in subsection (7) or is otherwise duly authenticated by showing that there is no material discrepancy between the electronic notice or copy thereof certified by the Director-General and the copy of the same electronic notice kept by an independent record keeper appointed under any regulations made under subsection (11),
shall be admissible as evidence of the facts stated or contained therein.
(7)  For the purposes of this section, a certificate —
(a)
giving the authentication code and other particulars of any user and device (if known) involved in the production and transmission of, and identifying the nature of, the electronic notice or copy thereof; and
(b)
purporting to be signed by the Director-General or by a person occupying a responsible position in relation to the operation of the computer service at the relevant time,
shall be sufficient evidence that the electronic notice or copy thereof has been duly authenticated, unless the court, in its discretion, calls for further evidence on this issue.
(8)  Where an electronic notice or a copy thereof is admissible under subsection (6), it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that the contents of the electronic notice or copy thereof have been accurately transmitted.
(9)  The Director-General may, for the purpose of facilitating any electronic transmission under this section, approve the use in any such electronic transmission of symbols, codes, abbreviations or other notations to represent any particulars or information required under this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder.
(10)  Any officer of customs or any other person employed in the administration of this Act shall not be treated as having contravened any provision of any written law relating to confidentiality or secrecy merely because he communicates to the independent record keeper or his employee or permits the independent record keeper or his employee to have access to any electronic notice or any information contained therein; and the independent record keeper, his employee and any person transmitting an electronic notice on behalf of another person shall not divulge or disclose the contents of any electronic notice or a copy thereof without the prior written consent of the Director-General.
(11)  The Minister may make regulations —
(a)
prescribing the conditions for subscription to the computer service, including the manner in which the authentication codes are to be assigned;
(b)
prescribing the manifests, returns, lists, statements, declarations, directions, notices, permits, receipts or any other document which may be transmitted through the computer service including the form and manner in which they are to be transmitted;
(c)
for the correction of errors in or amendments to electronic notices;
(d)
prescribing the procedure for use of the computer service including the procedure in circumstances where there is a breakdown or interruption in the service;
(e)
for the appointment of an independent record keeper to be charged with the duty to maintain for a prescribed period a record of all the electronic notices and transactions made through the data service provider between the Director-General and the registered users, such a duty to include keeping the database reports;
(f)
for the independent record keeper to produce a copy of the relevant record pertaining to any electronic notice or a copy thereof to either the Director-General or the registered user, whose electronic notice is in issue, when requested by either party to do so;
(g)
for the standards of security, confidentiality, data integrity and conduct of the computer service and for the review of the operations and activities of the data service provider by such authority or expert as may be prescribed; and
(h)
generally for the better provision of the computer service.
Preservation of records
90B.
—(1)  Any duty under this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder to keep or preserve any books of account, register, stock book or other records may be discharged by the preservation of the information contained therein by such means as the Director-General may approve; and where that information is so preserved a copy of any document forming part of the records shall, subject to subsections (2) and (3), be admissible in evidence in any proceedings, whether civil or criminal, to the same extent as the records themselves.
(2)  The Director-General may, as a condition of approving under subsection (1) any means of preserving information contained in any books of account, register, stock book or other records, impose such reasonable requirements as appear to him necessary for securing that the information will be as readily available to him as if the books of account, register, stock book or records themselves had been preserved.
(3)  A statement contained in a document produced by a computer shall not by virtue of subsection (1) be admissible in evidence whether in civil or criminal proceedings except in accordance with the Evidence Act [Cap. 97].
Power of Director General to obtain information and furnishing of information
90C.
—(1)  The Director-General or any officer of customs authorised by him shall at all times have full and free access to all buildings, places, books, documents and other records for any of the purposes of this Act, and may inspect, copy or make extracts from any such books, documents or records.
(2)  The Director-General or any officer of customs authorised by him may take possession of any such books, documents or records where in his opinion —
(a)
the inspection, copying thereof or extraction therefrom cannot reasonably be performed without taking possession;
(b)
the books, documents or records may be interfered with or destroyed unless possession is taken; or
(c)
the books, documents or records may be required as evidence in proceedings for an offence under this Act or in proceedings for the recovery of customs duty, tax or penalty, or in proceedings by way of an appeal against an assessment of customs duty or tax.
(3)  The Director-General may require any person to give orally or in writing, as may be required, all such information concerning his or any other person’s transactions made in the course of a business as may be demanded of him by the Director-General for the purposes of this Act except that no person shall, by virtue of this section, be obliged to disclose any particulars as to which he is under any statutory obligation to observe secrecy.
Information not to be published or disclosed
90D.
—(1)  No particulars, information or document furnished for the purposes of this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder shall, unless with the prior consent in writing of the person having the control, management or superintendence of the goods in relation to which the same was given or furnished —
(a)
be published; or
(b)
be communicated or disclosed to any person,
except where it is necessary for the purposes of —
(i)
a prosecution under this Act or the Goods and Services Tax Act [Cap. 117A] or any subsidiary legislation made under either Act;
(ii)
enabling an officer of customs to enforce a provision of this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder;
(iii)
enabling the Comptroller of Goods and Services Tax or an officer of customs to enforce a provision of the Goods and Services Tax Act [Cap. 117A] or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder;
(iv)
enabling an officer of customs to investigate a suspected offence under this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder; or
(v)
enabling the Comptroller of Goods and Services Tax or an officer of customs to investigate a suspected offence under the Goods and Services Tax Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder.
(2)  Any officer of customs or any person employed or engaged in the administration of this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder who makes use of, publishes or permits any other person to see or communicates or discloses to any other person the contents of any such particulars, information or document to any other person otherwise than with such consent or for such purpose as is referred to in subsection (1), shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $6,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.
(3)  Any person, having possession of any information which to his knowledge has been communicated, disclosed or published in contravention of this section, who publishes or communicates that information to any other person shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $6,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.
(4)  For the purposes of this section, “Comptroller”, in relation to Goods and Services Tax, has the same meaning as in the Goods and Services Tax Act.”.
Repeal and re-enactment of section 91
5.  Section 91 of the Customs Act is repealed and the following section substituted therefor:
Persons bound to give information or produce documents
91.
—(1)  Every person required by the proper officer of customs to give information or to produce any travel document or any document on any subject into which it is the officer’s duty to inquire under this Act and which it is in that person’s power to give or produce shall be bound to give such information or to produce such document for inspection.
(2)  The proper officer of customs may specify the customs office or station or other place at which that person is required to give information or to produce any document.
(3)  For the purposes of subsection (1), “travel document” means a passport furnished with a photograph of the holder or some other similar document establishing to the satisfaction of the proper officer of customs the identity of the holder and his nationality, domicile or place of permanent residence.”.
Amendment of section 92
6.  Section 92(1) of the Customs Act is amended —
(a)
by deleting the word “or” at the end of paragraph (b); and
(b)
by deleting the full-stop at the end of paragraph (c) and substituting the word “; or ”, and by inserting immediately thereafter the following paragraph:
(d)
by an electronic notice transmitted in accordance with section 90A.”.
Amendment of section 93
7.  Section 93 of the Customs Act is amended —
(a)
by deleting the words “declare all dutiable goods” in the third line of subsection (1) and substituting the words “proceed to the Red Channel to declare all dutiable goods which exceed his duty free allowance, or any goods for which no duty free allowance is granted”; and
(b)
by inserting, immediately after subsection (1), the following subsection:
(1A)  Any passenger or other person arriving in Singapore who proceeds to the Green Channel with dutiable goods which exceed his duty free allowance, or any goods for which no duty free allowance is granted in his possession, either on his person or in any baggage or in any vehicle shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to be in possession of uncustomed goods.”.
Repeal and re-enactment of section 96
8.  Section 96 of the Customs Act is repealed and the following section substituted therefor:
Declarations to give a full and true account
96.
—(1)  The declarations referred to in sections 37, 59 and 80 shall, unless the Director-General allows under subsection (2), be made and submitted by an electronic notice in accordance with section 90A and such declaration shall give a full and true account of such particulars as are required by the Director-General.
(2)  The Director-General may, in his discretion and subject to such conditions as he may impose, allow any declaration referred to in sections 37, 59 and 80 to be made on a form determined by the Director-General, and such declaration shall give a full and true account of the particulars for which provision is made in the form and shall be in duplicate or in such other number of copies as the person to whom the declaration is required to be made may direct.”.
New section 103A
9.  The Customs Act is amended by inserting, immediately after section 103, the following section:
Power to have access to, inspect and check operation of computer and other apparatus
103A.  In connection with the exercise of the powers in section 102 or 103, any senior officer of customs or any Magistrate, as the case may be —
(a)
shall be entitled at any time to have access to, and inspect and check the operation of, any computer and any associated device, apparatus or material which is or has been in use in connection with any data or document to which section 102 or 103 applies; and
(b)
may require —
(i)
the person by whom or on whose behalf the computer is or has been so used; or
(ii)
any person having charge of, or otherwise concerned with the operation of, the computer, device, apparatus or material,
to provide the officer or the Magistrate with such reasonable assistance as he may require for the purposes of paragraph (a ).”.
Amendment of section 114
10.  Section 114 of the Customs Act is amended by deleting the words “, except that a Magistrate’s Court shall not impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term exceeding 2 years” at the end thereof.
New section 115A
11.  The Customs Act is amended by inserting, immediately after section 115, the following section:
Presumptions of possession of dutiable, prohibited or uncustomed goods
115A.
—(1)  Any person who is proved to have had in his possession or custody or under his control —
(a)
any thing containing any dutiable, prohibited or uncustomed goods;
(b)
the keys of any thing containing any dutiable, prohibited or uncustomed goods;
(c)
the keys of any place or premises or any part thereof in which any dutiable, prohibited or uncustomed goods are found; or
(d)
a document of title relating to any dutiable, prohibited or uncustomed goods or any other document intended for the delivery of any dutiable, prohibited or uncustomed goods,
shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed to have had those dutiable, prohibited or uncustomed goods in his possession.
(2)  If any dutiable, prohibited or uncustomed goods are found in any ship or aircraft, it shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed that those dutiable, prohibited or uncustomed goods have been imported in that ship or aircraft with the knowledge of the master or the commander or captain thereof.
(3)  If any dutiable, prohibited or uncustomed goods are found in any vehicle, it shall, until the contrary is proved, be presumed to be in the possession of the owner of the vehicle and of the person in charge of the vehicle for the time being.”.
Amendment of section 119
12.  Section 119 of the Customs Act is amended by deleting the words “3 years” in the last line and substituting the words “6 years”.
Amendment of section 129
13.  Section 129 of the Customs Act is amended —
(a)
by inserting, immediately after the word “information” in the third line of subsection (1), the words “or produce any document”;
(b)
by inserting, immediately after the word “information” in the sixth line of subsection (1), the words “or produce such document”;
(c)
by inserting, immediately after the word “information” in the seventh line of subsection (1), the words “or document”;
(d)
by inserting, immediately after the word “information” in the first line of subsection (2), the words “or any such document”;
(e)
by inserting, immediately after the word “information” in the third line of subsection (2), the words “or such document”;
(f)
by inserting, immediately after the word “furnished” in the fourth line of subsection (2), the words “or produced”; and
(g)
by inserting, immediately after the word “information” in the marginal note, the words “or false document”.
Amendment of section 130
14.  Section 130 of the Customs Act is amended —
(a)
by deleting the word “and” at the end of sub-paragraph (i) of subsection (1);
(b)
by deleting the full-stop at the end of sub-paragraph (ii) of subsection (1) and substituting a semi-colon, and by inserting immediately thereafter the following sub-paragraphs:
(iii)
where the goods consist wholly or partly of tobacco products and such tobacco products exceed 2 kilogrammes in weight — on the first conviction to both a fine of not less than 15 times the amount of the customs duty or tax and not more than 20 times the amount of the customs duty or tax or $10,000, whichever is the greater, and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years; and
(iv)
where the goods consist wholly or partly of tobacco products and such tobacco products exceed 2 kilogrammes in weight — on the second or subsequent conviction to both a fine of not less than 30 times the amount of the customs duty or tax and not more than 40 times the amount of the customs duty or tax or $20,000, whichever is the greater, and to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 years.”; and
(c)
by inserting, immediately after subsection (2), the following subsection:
(3)  For the purposes of sub-paragraphs (iii) and (iv) of subsection (1), “tobacco product” means any cigarette, cigar, cheroot, cigarillos or any other form of tobacco including —
(a)
any mixture containing tobacco; and
(b)
any tobacco substitute which is capable of being smoked.”.
New sections 130A and 130B
15.  The Customs Act is amended by inserting, immediately after section 130, the following sections:
Evading duty by unauthorised modification of computer program or data
130A.
—(1)  Any person who, without the authority of the Director-General —
(a)
destroys, damages, erases or otherwise manipulates data stored in, or used in connection with, a computer;
(b)
introduces into, or records or stores in, a computer by any means data for the purpose of —
(i)
destroying, damaging, erasing or altering other data stored in that computer; or
(ii)
interfering with, interrupting or obstructing the lawful use of, that computer or the data stored in that computer; or
(c)
otherwise uses a computer,
the purpose or effect of which is to reduce, avoid or evade any liability to customs duty or tax imposed or which would otherwise have been imposed by this Act, or to defeat any provision of this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable for any such offence —
(i)
on the first conviction to a fine of not less than 10 times the amount of the customs duty or tax or $5,000 whichever is the lesser amount, and of not more than 20 times the amount of the customs duty or tax or $5,000 whichever is the greater and where the amount of customs duty cannot be ascertained, the penalty shall be a fine not exceeding $5,000; and
(ii)
on the second or subsequent conviction to the fine mentioned in sub-paragraph (i) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.
(2)  For the purposes of subsection (1), “data” includes any computer program or part of a computer program being a program, whether or not approved by the Director-General, for use in relation to the computer service established under section 90A.
Knowingly advancing or furnishing money for business comprising sale, purchase, etc., of uncustomed goods
130B.  Any person who knowingly advances or furnishes money for the purpose of establishing or conducting any business comprising the sale, purchase, hire, receiving, concealment, disposal or dealing of uncustomed goods shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $100,000 and not more than $1 million and shall also be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 years.”.
Amendment of section 137
16.  Section 137 of the Customs Act is amended —
(a)
by deleting the word “or” at the end of paragraph (b);
(b)
by deleting the comma at the end of paragraph (c) and substituting the word “; or”, and by inserting immediately thereafter the following paragraph:
(d)
intentionally offers any resistance or illegal obstruction to the lawful apprehension of himself or of any other person, or escapes or attempts to escape from any custody in which he is lawfully detained, or rescues or attempts to rescue any other person from any custody in which that person is lawfully detained,”;
(c)
by deleting “$5,000” in sub-paragraph (i) and substituting “$10,000”;
(d)
by deleting the words “9 months” in sub-paragraph (i) and substituting the words “18 months”;
(e)
by deleting “$5,000” in sub-paragraph (ii) and substituting “$20,000”;
(f)
by deleting the words “18 months” in sub-paragraph (ii) and substituting the words “3 years”; and
(g)
by deleting the words “and rescuing goods” in the marginal note and substituting the words “, rescuing goods, resisting arrest and escaping from custody”.
Amendment of section 143
17.  Section 143(1) of the Customs Act is amended by deleting paragraph (j) and substituting the following paragraph:
(j)
to prescribe the manner and method of payment of any duty payable or chargeable under this Act or any subsidiary legislation made thereunder;”.
Miscellaneous amendments
18.  The Customs Act is amended —
(a)
by deleting the words “any rule, regulation” in the third and fourth lines of section 17(1) and substituting the words “any subsidiary legislation”;
(b)
by deleting the words “any regulations” wherever they appear in the following provisions and substituting in each case the words “any subsidiary legislation”: sections 74(3), 101(1) (b ), 101(1)(i), 103 (b );
(c)
by deleting the words “any order or regulation” in section 79(3) (d ) and substituting the words “any subsidiary legislation”; and
(d)
by deleting the words “any order or regulations” wherever they appear in the following provisions and substituting in each case the words “any subsidiary legislation”: sections 92(1), 101(1) (c ), 101(1)(i), 103 (c ), 110(1), 112(1) (a ) and (c ), 113, 115, 118(1), 121(3) 123 (2), 126(2), 128(1) (a ), (c ), (d ) and (f ), 130(1) (d ), 137 (a ), 140, 141(1) and (2).