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.
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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