13 fined for illegal online sale of e-vaporisers, including one jailed for selling unregistered medicines
SINGAPORE: Thirteen people have been fined S$3,000 to S$53,500 for selling electronic vaporisers and related components online in Singapore, said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) on Wednesday (Jul 28).
The perpetrators, aged 20 to 40, were convicted in court between March and June 2021, with the total fines amounting to S$164,500. Of the 13, two were also jailed 33 months and 13 weeks each for separate offences.
"They had purchased the e-vaporisers and related components from overseas suppliers and sold them illegally on various local social media and e-commerce platforms," said HSA in a press release.
More than S$20,000 worth of e-vaporiser products have been seized.
The authority conducts "active surveillance" on such platforms and will take "enforcement actions" against those who buy or sell e-vaporiser products online, it said.
HSA defines e-vaporisers as battery-operated devices which deliver vaporised nicotine for users to inhale, such as e-cigarettes, e-pipes and e-cigars.
NOT JUST VAPES - SLEEPING PILLS TOO
One of the perpetrators, 40-year-old Goh Yew Teck, was fined S$13,000 on May 14 for importing, advertising and selling e-vaporiser products and e-liquids with nicotine.
Goh was also sentenced to 13 weeks' jail for selling unregistered medicines such as cough syrup and sleeping pills.
"He would purchase and smuggle the supplies from overseas and sell them on Carousell and WhatsApp," said HSA.
Cough syrup bottles, painkillers, sleeping pills and codeine phosphate tablets were found in his home.
"HSA will take enforcement actions against those who engage in the import, manufacture or supply of illegal health products," it said.
Anyone found guilty of importing, manufacturing or supplying of illegal health products may be jailed for up to two years or fined up to S$50,000.
CAUGHT SMUGGLING AT WOODLANDS CHECKPOINT
Tan Qin Woon, 29, was caught bringing in 1,164 pieces of e-vaporisers and related components with his accomplices at Woodlands Checkpoint.
Further investigations revealed that Tan and his accomplices were also involved in selling these prohibited items. For this, he was fined S$5,000 on Mar 10.
Tan was also sentenced to 33 months’ jail for his offences under the Customs Act, Misuse of Drugs Act and Road Traffic Act, while his accomplices are still undergoing court prosecutions.
FINED WITH HIGHEST AMOUNT OF S$53,500
Another 29-year-old, Cha Teng Chian, used four social media platforms - Instagram, Facebook, WeChat and WhatsApp - to advertise and sell e-vaporiser products.
He was fined S$53,500 on May 31.
From January 2018 to June 2021, HSA prosecuted 56 people for selling e-vaporiser products. The highest fine meted out in the two-and-a-half years was S$99,000.
Those convicted of selling, possessing for sale, importing or distributing e-vaporisers face a fine of up to S$10,000, a jail term of up to six months or both. The maximum punishments double for subsequent offences.
"HSA will continue to take strong enforcement actions against those convicted of selling e-vaporisers and their related components," said the authority.
MORE THAN 4,300 "TAKEN TO TASK" FOR POSSESSING, BUYING, USING
Possessing, buying or using e-vaporiser products have also been an offence since Feb 1, with a fine of up to S$2,000 per offence.
As of Jun 30, 4,316 people were "caught and taken to task" for this offence.
"The public is strongly advised not to import, purchase, supply or use prohibited tobacco products," said HSA.