14 Jan 2022
HSA DISRUPTS TELEGRAM E-VAPORISER DISTRIBUTION NETWORK, SEIZES $200,000 WORTH OF E-VAPORISERS AND COMPONENTS
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) mounted a 24-hour operation on 6 January 2022 against the distributor and peddlers of an electronic vaporiser (e-vaporiser) distribution network. E-vaporisers and related components, with an estimated street value of close to $200,000, were seized.
2 Multiple raids were conducted at the residences of the distributor and the peddlers. These include a hotel in Geylang and residential addresses in Yishun and Serangoon. Two male subjects and one female subject are currently assisting HSA in the investigation. They had used Telegram to illegally advertise and supply such prohibited items to a large number of people in these chatgroups. One of the male subjects was also referred to the Central Narcotics Bureau for investigations into suspected drug-related offences. Please refer to the Annex for photos of the raid and items seized.
3 E-vaporiser smugglers and peddlers are using anonymous messaging applications, such as Wechat and Telegram in a bid to conduct their illegal activities clandestinely. HSA had been closely monitoring the e-vaporiser distribution networks on platforms such as Telegram which are used to sell the prohibited items. Through intense surveillance and intelligence gathering efforts, HSA has successfully disrupted this particular network of peddlers. HSA will continue to monitor such illegal activities and take strong enforcement actions against these offenders.
Penalties for such offences in Singapore
4 HSA would like to remind the public that the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act prohibits the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of imitation tobacco products. These include shisha tobacco, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco such as Gutkha, Khaini, Zarda, e-vaporisers and their components. Any person convicted of an offence is liable to a fine of up to $10,000, or imprisonment of up to six months or both for the first offence, and a fine of up to $20,000, or imprisonment of up to 12 months or both for the second or subsequent offence. The purchase, use and possession of such products is also an offence. Any person convicted of this offence is liable to a fine of up to $2,000. All prohibited tobacco items will also be seized and confiscated.
5 The purchase, use and possession of e-vaporisers is also prohibited. Information pertaining to prohibited tobacco products in Singapore is available on the HSA website and more details about the harms of e-vaporisers can be found in this HealthHub article.
6 Members of the public who have information on the illegal import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of e-vaporisers can submit a report conveniently using the online form at www.go.gov.sg/reporttobaccooffences. Alternatively, they can contact HSA’s Tobacco Regulation Branch at Tel: 6684 2036 or 6684 2037 during office hours (9:00am to 5:30pm, Monday to Friday).