Singaporean Obtained Locally Bought Rolex Watch Tax-Free With One-Way Air Ticket

25 Sep 2017

A 37-year old Singaporean, Song Mingqiang (“Song”), was convicted of the offence of receiving a Rolex watch from a tourist after a tourist GST refund had been claimed for the watch. The court sentenced Song Mingqiang to a fine of $2,000.   

Facts of the Case

Investigations revealed that Song’s mother-in-law had bought the Rolex Watch in Singapore as a wedding anniversary gift for Song and his wife. A one-way ticket was purchased for Song on AirAsia AK722 from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was to enable Song to enter the departure transit area to assist his mother-in-law in the eTRS GST refund application for the said Rolex Watch and to receive the said Rolex Watch back from her. Song had no intention to board the said flight. Subsequently, Song assisted his mother-in-law to make the eTRS GST refund for the said Rolex Watch successfully and received the said Rolex Watch back from her.

Song’s mother-in-law subsequently left Singapore after handing over the Rolex Watch and the GST refund monies of $773 to Song. Song admitted in his recorded statement to IRAS that he was aware that only a tourist would be able to claim a GST refund on the Rolex Watch.

Penalties for Tourist Refund Fraud

The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) takes a serious view of anyone who makes false declarations to seek GST refunds under the tourist refund scheme and abuses the scheme. IRAS works closely with the enforcement authorities to uncover any attempt to defraud GST.

A person who receives goods from a tourist, directly or indirectly, knowing that the tourist has obtained approval for the refund, commits an offence under the GST Regulation. Offenders shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 and in default of payment to an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.


Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore