Singapore HSA seizes S$200,000 worth of e-vaporiser products after raids on Telegram distribution network

Assorted e-vaporisers and pods seized at one of the suspect’s homes. ― Picture via Health Sciences Authority
Assorted e-vaporisers and pods seized at one of the suspect’s homes. ― Picture via Health Sciences Authority

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SINGAPORE, Jan 14 — Almost S$200,000 (RM622,009) worth of electronic vaporisers and related components were seized after multiple raids targeting an e-vaporiser distribution network which operated on Telegram, said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) today.

During a 24-hour operation on January 6, HSA raided the residences of the network's distributor and peddlers at locations including a hotel in Geylang and residential addresses in Yishun and Serangoon.

The offenders had used Telegram, an anonymous messaging application, to illegally advertise and supply the prohibited items to a large number of people, HSA said in a media release.

Two men and a woman are assisting HSA in the investigation. One of the men was also referred to the Central Narcotics Bureau for investigations into suspected drug-related offences.

The sale of e-vaporisers is prohibited in Singapore under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, which prohibits the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of imitation tobacco products.

Likewise, the purchase, use and possession of e-vaporisers is prohibited.

Any person convicted of an offence may be fined up to S$10,000 or jailed up to six months, or both, for the first offence. For the second or subsequent offence, the penalty is a fine of up to S$20,000 or a jail term of up to 12 months, or both. All prohibited tobacco items will be seized and confiscated.

HSA said it has been closely monitoring e-vaporiser distribution networks on anonymous messaging platforms such as Wechat and Telegram, which e-vaporiser smugglers and peddlers are using in a bid to evade detection.

Members of the public who have information on the illegal distribution of such products may contact HSA’s Tobacco Regulation Branch or submit an online report at www.go.gov.sg/reporttobaccooffences. ― Bernama

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