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Five Malaysian Drivers Jailed for Smuggling around $213,000 Worth of Chewing Tobacco

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has prosecuted five male Malaysian bowser lorry drivers for smuggling a total of 53,249 sachets of Khaini tobacco, a type of chewing tobacco into Singapore. The street value of the chewing tobacco is estimated to be around $213,000. (Please refer to Annex A in the pdf for photos.)

2        Their unlawful activities were detected by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at Tuas Checkpoint on 7 September. Packages of chewing tobacco were uncovered in black polythene bags hidden in the Malaysia-registered bowser lorries.  They were found in various sections such as bed bunks and engine compartments.

3        HSA's investigations revealed that the smugglers used a similar mode of operation in their smuggling activities. All were instructed to proceed to designated carparks in Singapore to hand over the illegal chewing tobacco to a contact person. 

4        The five smugglers were aged between 37 and 51.  They were convicted in Court and sentenced to imprisonment terms ranging from five to 16 weeks. Please refer to the table below for details. 

Name of accused

Sentence

No. of sachets smuggled

Azman Bin Ayob

16 weeks’ imprisonment

16,200

Mohd Azizul Bin Mohd Sahir

6 weeks’ imprisonment

6,000

Zuraime Bin Ahmad

5 weeks’ imprisonment

5,969

Mohd Hairul Nizal Bin Hamzah

12 weeks’ imprisonment

12,030

Mohd Hamzie Bin Naim

13 weeks’ imprisonment

13,050

 

Chewing tobacco is strictly prohibited in Singapore 

5        Khaini tobacco is a form of chewing tobacco that is intended to be used by placement in the mouth.  It has a distinctive smell and consists of moist, dark brown tobacco leaf, mixed with slaked lime or spices.

  Penalties for such offences in Singapore   

6        HSA would like to remind the public that the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act prohibits the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of imitation tobacco products.  These include shisha tobacco, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco such as Gutkha, Khaini, Zarda, electronic vaporisers and their accessories.

7        Any person convicted of an offence is liable to a fine of up to $10,000, or imprisonment of up to six 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. All imported chewing tobacco will be seized and confiscated.

Consumer advisory

8        Information pertaining to prohibited tobacco products in Singapore is available on the HSA website.

9        The public is strongly advised not to purchase prohibited tobacco products, nor bring prohibited tobacco products into Singapore.  Members of the public who have information on the illegal import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of prohibited tobacco products 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
SINGAPORE
22 SEPTEMBER 2020

Download pdf version here 663 KB

Consumer, Tobacco control
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