Renowned Taiwanese makeup artist Xiao Kai claims Singapore customs taxed his used Celine bag

SINGAPORE — Renowned Taiwanese makeup artist Xiao Kai, who is currently in Singapore, claims he was stopped by customs upon entering the country.

In an Instagram Live last week, which has since been removed from his grid, he claimed he was taken to a room and asked about his Celine bag, which was in a dust bag in his carry-on, as it was considered a luxury item.

He said he was asked to produce a receipt for the bag, but was unable to because it was purchased a month ago in Taipei.

“They made me feel like a dealer in drugs, gold or diamonds,” he said in Mandarin in the 15-minute clip, although he also pointed out that he it was an isolated incident that did not affect how much he enjoyed visiting Singapore.

Best known for his appearance on the popular Taiwanese variety show Lady First, the makeup guru is also known as Xiao Kai Laoshi (meaning teacher) but his real name is Chang Ching-kai.

As the bag was less than three months old, it was considered a new item and was then taxed at 7% of its selling price, which he said was around NT$50,000 (S$2,205) .

“Only 7% is nothing. I can pay to fix the problem,” he said, adding that he had taken such good care of the bag that it looked brand new. “I’m the type of person who will admit if I’ve done something wrong, but I haven’t done anything wrong and that’s an old sack.”

In response to a question from the Straits Times, a Singapore Customs spokesperson said he was aware of the Instagram post and reached out to Xiao Kai to understand the circumstances of his case.

Under Singapore laws, arriving travellers, whether foreigners or returning residents, are required to declare and pay Goods and Services Tax (GST) for bringing in new goods in excess of their GST relief.

For used personal items, travelers are not required to report and pay GST on them.

The spokesperson added: “However, our officers at the checkpoint will assess the details of each case, such as the condition of the goods presented, to determine whether the goods are subject to payment of GST.”

Another celeb who recently encountered problems at the airport was Running Man’s Jeon So-min, who was recently in Singapore for a vacation.

The popular South Korean reality TV host revealed an anecdote during last Sunday’s episode that she was taken for questioning as she entered Singapore.

The 36-year-old was repeatedly asked about her departure date, which she was sure was October 2, and her intention to return to South Korea. She later realized that she had accidentally filled in the year 2202 instead of 2022 on her arrival card.