Man fined record $99,000 for illegal sales of electronic vaporisers

(PHOTO: HSA)

SINGAPORE — A 35-year-old man who illegally sold electronic vaporisers online was fined a record $99,000 on Monday (9 September), said the Health Science Authority (HSA) in a press release.

The fine imposed on Chong Weisheng is the stiffest penalty for the offence under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) to date, following a $64,500 fine imposed on an offender in 2014.

Since 2014, the HSA has prosecuted 20 individuals for selling e-vaporisers. These battery-powered devices - which include e-cigarettes, e-pipes and e-cigars - heat up a liquid that contains nicotine, commonly known as e-liquid, turning it into a vapour to be inhaled.

Chong’s flat at Gangsa Road was raided in March 2015, following online surveillance and investigations.

Investigations revealed that he had illegally bought the e-vaporisers from various overseas suppliers, said the HSA.

He then advertised and sold them on an e-commerce website hosted on huntersbrew.net, which is no longer operational.

After coming across news of the HSA’s raids on peddlers of e-vaporisers, he took extra measures to hide his illegal activities.

These included changing the website domain name twice to avoid detection and having a password feature to enable access to a third website set up by him.

(SCREENCAP: HSA)

He was also ”selective” with his customers and titled all sale transactions as “computer IT services” to cover up his offences, said the the authority.

An offender can be fined a maximum of $10,000 or jailed up to six months or both for the first offence upon conviction. For the second or subsequent offences, an offender can be fined up to $20,000 or jailed up to 12 months or both.

Since 1 February last year, it is illegal to possess, purchase or use e-vaporisers in Singapore. Offenders can be fined up to $2,000.

According to the HSA, 2,635 cases of importation of e-vaporisers and 169 cases of the sale of such products have been dealt with by the authorities from 1 January 2017 to 31 December last year.

Between 1 February and 31 December last year, 68 people have been caught for the use of these devices.

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