Seventeen Persons Convicted for Illegal Online Sale of Electronic Vaporisers – Total Fines Amount to Over $114,000, Five Received Jail Sentences
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has prosecuted 17 persons for selling electronic vaporisers1 and related components in Singapore. They were convicted in Court between the period of February and August 2022, with total fines amounting to $114,500. Five of the 17 persons received jail sentences ranging from 10 to 26 days (refer to Annex A for the details).
2 The convicted persons were aged between 20 and 39. They had purchased the e-vaporisers and related components from overseas and sold them illegally on various local social media and e-commerce platforms. More than $170,000 worth of e-vaporisers and related components were seized (refer to Annex B for photos).
HIGHLIGHTS OF SOME CASES
Youth offender placed under 12-month probation for repeated offences
3 Yang Jing Tao, aged 21 years, was earlier caught selling e-vaporisers on Carousell in 2018. He was issued with a conditional warning under which he was bound to refrain from any criminal conduct for a period of 24 months.
4 Between August and September 2019, Yang committed fresh offences by importing e-vaporiser components. He was prosecuted and placed under supervised probation of 12 months for his offences.
Offender given the highest fine
5 Chelsea Tan Yan Qi, aged 24 years, was caught selling e-vaporisers and related components on Telegram. Her husband and employee assisted in smuggling the illicit products from Johor Bahru (JB) into Singapore. Investigations revealed that Tan and her accomplices would use a rented car to transport her supplies from JB to Singapore. On a few occasions, the e-vaporiser supplier in JB had also assisted to conceal the illegal products in the door panels of the rented car to evade detection.
6 Tan was sentenced to a total fine of $23,000 for selling and offering for sale e-vaporisers and their related components. As she could not pay the fine, she had to serve 50 days of imprisonment in lieu of the fine. Her accomplices have been dealt with separately.
Partners-in-crime who imported and sold prohibited products
7 Benjamin Neo Song Ya, aged 21 years and Lim Jing Jie, aged 23 years, had imported e-vaporisers and their related components from overseas and sold them on Instagram and Telegram.
8 Investigations revealed that Neo provided Lim with some funds for the purchase and import of the illegal products. After the illegal products had been imported, they were stored at Neo’s residence while they advertised and sold them to potential customers.
9 Neo was sentenced to a fine of $16,000 and three weeks’ imprisonment, while Lim was sentenced to a fine of $3,000 and three weeks and five days’ imprisonment for their offences.
E-VAPORISERS STRICTLY PROHIBITED IN SINGAPORE
10 HSA would like to remind the public that it is an offence under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act to sell, possess for sale, import or distribute e-vaporisers and their related components. Any person who is convicted is liable to a fine of up to $10,000, or imprisonment of up to 6 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. In addition, since 1 February 2018, it is also an offence to possess, purchase or use e-vaporisers and their related components. The penalty is a fine of up to $2,000 per offence.
11 From 2018 to 2021, HSA had prosecuted 70 persons for selling e-vaporisers and their related components. The highest fine meted out so far was $99,000 for the illegal sale of these prohibited items. There was also a case where the offender was sentenced to 1 week’s imprisonment and a fine of $61,000 for selling e-vaporisers and their related components.
12 HSA conducts active online surveillance and will continue to take strong enforcement actions against those selling e-vaporisers and related components. We also work closely with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority to monitor and stop illegal imports of e-vaporisers and related components.
13 The public should also not purchase or bring e-vaporisers and related components into Singapore. From 1 February 2018 to 31 December 2021, 6,842 people were caught and taken to task for the possession and use of e-vaporisers and their related components. Information pertaining to the prohibition of e-vaporisers in Singapore is available on HSA’s website.
14 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 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).
HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY
26 SEPTEMBER 2022