On Wednesday, March 20th two Chinese business people were arraigned before the court on separate GST offenses.
Their arrest resulted from a sting operation launched by the GST Department in cracking down on persons who refuse to utilize the programmable cash registers and to issue tax receipts to their customers on a daily basis.
In late January of this year, The GST Department carried out one such an operation that led them to arrest two business owners. They are 31-year-old Xue Fei Cao, the owner of Hattieville #1 Store in the Hattieville Village. The other is businessman, Shi Qin Chen, 48, the owner of Qin Shop, located at #36 Mahogany Street in the Saint Martin De Pores area of Belize City.
Both Cao and Chen appeared unrepresented in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court where they were read two counts and both pleaded not guilty.
Cao, the first to be arraigned, was charged with one count of failure to utilize a programmable cash register and one count of failure to issue a tax receipt.
She pleaded not guilty to the offenses and when asked why the court should offer her bail, Cao said that presently she is pregnant and cannot afford to be travelling too much due to her condition. She also asked the court to allow her a long adjournment until she had given birth.
GST personnel, Jacklyn Meighan offered to give Cao an expeditious trial and told the court that they will provide her with disclosure in the matter by March 26th and they will proceed to trial on April 2nd.
Cao was offered bail in the sum of $1,000 plus one surety of the same amount.
The second to be arraigned on the same charge was Chen. He too pleaded not guilty to the offense and was offered bail in the same amount. His case was adjourned for April 10th, and disclosure was ordered for March 26th, 2013. His case will proceed to trial on April 10th.
According to GST personnel, on January 29th, 2013, the sting operation was set up when GST personnel first visited the store in Hattieville and purchased a juice and a Frito Lay chips and Cao did not use the programmable cash register nor did she issue her a tax receipt for her purchases.
As a result, Cao was charged.
A similar sting was done at Chen’s store on Mahogany Street when GST personnel visited the store and purchased a pack of Halls. He too failed to use the programmable register and did not issue a receipt for the purchase.