SINGAPORE: Electronic vaporisers and related components with an estimated street value of close to S$200,000 were seized by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in a series of raids last week, the agency said on Friday (Jan 14).
The 24-hour operation on Jan 6 targeted a distributor and peddlers who were part of an e-vaporiser distribution network, HSA said.
Multiple raids were conducted at the residences of the distributor and peddlers, including a hotel in Geylang and homes in Yishun and Serangoon, the agency said.
Two men and a woman are assisting HSA with investigations.
“They had used Telegram to illegally advertise and supply such prohibited items to a large number of people in these chat groups,” HSA said in a media release on Friday.
“One of the (men) was also referred to the Central Narcotics Bureau for investigations into suspected drug-related offences.”
HSA has been "closely monitoring" e-vaporiser distribution networks on anonymous messaging applications, such as Telegram and WeChat.
E-vaporiser smugglers and sellers have been using these platforms “in a bid to conduct their illegal activities clandestinely”, it said.
“Through intense surveillance and intelligence gathering efforts, HSA has successfully disrupted this particular network of peddlers,” the agency added.
“HSA will continue to monitor such illegal activities and take strong enforcement actions against these offenders.”
Importing, distributing, selling and offering to sell imitation tobacco products, including e-vaporisers and their components, are offences under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act.
First-time offenders face a fine of up to S$10,000, up to six months' jail, or both. Those convicted of a second or subsequent offence face a maximum fine of S$20,000, up to 12 months' jail, or both.
It is also an offence to buy, use or possess such products, with offenders facing a fine of up to S$2,000 and the confiscation of the prohibited tobacco items.