SINGAPORE: Seventeen people have been arrested for selling and possessing chewing tobacco in Little India, said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Tuesday (Aug 27).
The raids, conducted by HSA and the Singapore Police Force (SPF), were held on Sunday and Monday.
A storage facility in Jurong was also raided and chewing tobacco products seized.
A total of 21,036 sachets of chewing tobacco, with a street value of S$42,000, were seized during the two-day operation.
Two of the sellers caught were social visit pass holders and have been repatriated, HSA said.
At Little India, officers found the chewing tobacco hidden under a metal plate along a pavement, as well as in a haversack on a shoe rack in a temple.
The operation was the largest to date in curbing the selling of Khaini tobacco, with the highest number of sellers caught, said HSA.
Khaini is a type of chewing tobacco that is prohibited in Singapore. It consists of moist, dark brown tobacco leaves, mixed with slaked lime or spices.
"Chewing tobacco like Khaini, Gutkha and Zarda has been found to cause oral cancer and is prohibited under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act," said HSA.
Anyone convicted of importing or selling these products faces a jail term of up to six months, a fine of up to S$10,000, or both. The penalties are double for repeat offenders.
Those found guilty of possessing, purchasing or using the products can also be fined up to S$2,000.