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More than $130,000 Worth of Electronic Vaporisers and Components Seized at Tuas and Woodlands Checkpoints

On 9 and 13 May 2022, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at Tuas and Woodlands Checkpoints detected a total of 3,200 electronic vaporisers (e-vaporisers) and more than 17,000 e-vaporiser related components concealed in various compartments of three arriving Malaysia-registered lorries.  The estimated street value of the seized e-vaporisers and components is estimated to be more than $130,000. Please refer to the Annex for photos of the items seized.

Details of the cases

2        On 9 May, ICA officers foiled an attempt to smuggle 8,520 pieces of e-vaporiser refill pods into Singapore via a Malaysia-registered lorry transporting precast concrete. Officers at Tuas Checkpoint directed the lorry for further checks and uncovered the e-vaporisers refill pods underneath a make-shift bed in the vehicle’s cabin.

3        On 13 May, ICA officers foiled another two attempts to smuggle disposable e-vaporisers and e-vaporiser refill pods into Singapore via two Malaysia-registered lorries. In the first case, officers at Tuas Checkpoint found black bags disguised as a make-shift bed in the vehicle’s cabin and uncovered a total of 3,200 pieces of disposable e-vaporisers and 6,000 e-vaporiser refill pods. In the second case, officers at Woodlands Checkpoint uncovered several bundles of black trash bags concealed underneath the driver’s seat and on top of the vehicle’s cabin and found a total of 2,700 pieces of e-vaporiser refill pods.

4        All three cases were referred to HSA for further investigation. Four Malaysian male subjects between the age of 27 and 52 years old are currently assisting HSA in the investigation. 

Seven such cases detected since April

5        From 1 April 2022 to date, seven cases involving the smuggling of e-vaporisers and related components in Malaysia-registered lorries have been detected by ICA at the checkpoints. Two of the Malaysian males involved in one of the cases were convicted in Court on 12 April 2022 and sentenced to one week of imprisonment and a fine of $1,500. The remaining six cases are pending investigations or court actions.

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 harmful or imitation tobacco products. These include shisha tobacco, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco such as Gutkha, Khaini, Zarda, e-vaporisers and their accessories. HSA takes a serious view of such cases and will take prosecution actions against such offenders. 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 prohibited tobacco items will be seized and confiscated.

Consumer advisory

7          The purchase, use and possession of e-vaporisers is prohibited. Information pertaining to prohibited tobacco products in Singapore is available on the HSA website and more details about the harms of e-vaporisers can be found in this HealthHub article.

8             Members of the public who have information on the illegal import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of e-vaporisers can submit a report conveniently using the online form at www.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).

9        Safeguarding Singapore’s borders is the top priority for ICA. Similar concealment methods may also be used by terrorists to smuggle security items into Singapore. ICA will continue to conduct security checks to detect and deter smuggling attempts, to keep Singapore safe.

IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY
HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY
SINGAPORE
25 MAY 2022

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Consumer, Healthcare professional, Industry member, Tobacco control
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