Man with over 50,000 condoms, unregistered health products, fined $32,500

Wan Ting Koh
·Senior Reporter
·4-min read
Collection of colorful condoms
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — He was first arrested after selling unregistered contraceptive pills twice in the same day to an undercover police officer.

After Song Bowen, 27, was apprehended, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) raided his flat. It found more than 50,000 condoms, all of which were unregistered health products.

Song, a Singapore permanent resident, was fined $32,500 on 13 contraventions of the Health Products Act, which he admitted to, on Thursday (30 July).

Song, who works in an engineering company, also studies part-time at the Singapore University of Social Sciences. He supports a fiancee and a young daughter who are living in China.

The court heard that a Field Investigation Officer attached to the Serious Sexual Crime Branch of the Criminal Investigation Department first approached Song on 9 April last year. The officer sent Song a text message saying that he wanted to buy contraceptive pills from Song.

The officer said that he was waiting at the lift landing area at the void deck of Block 147 Yishun Street 11.

At about 11.08am, Song arrived at the location and sold one box containing a tablet to the officer for $20. Song then returned to his unit after collecting the money.

Minutes later, the officer sent another message to Song requesting to buy the same contraceptive tablet and browse other brands of tablets.

When Song met the officer outside his unit with the tablets, the officer placed him under arrest and seized the tablets.

The officer seized 30 tablets which contained Levonorgestrel, an active ingredient in prescription-only medicines listed in the Second Schedule of the Health Products (Therapeutic Products) Regulations 2016.

According to court documents, Levonorgestrel is used as an emergency contraceptive to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse and is available only by prescription. No more than four tablets may be taken in a month.

At about 12.20pm the same day, HSA officers raided Song’s unit and seized 53,940 pieces of condoms of various brands.

Song admitted to possessing the unregistered medical products for the purpose of supplying them for sale. He had intended to sell each box, containing 10 pieces of condoms, for $10.

No community-based sentencing report

Song’s lawyer asked about the possibility of community-based sentencing for her client, and cited a similar precedent. While the accused in this previous case earned a profit of $500, Song had not profited from the products, save those that the officer bought.

This prompted District Judge (DJ) Adam Nakhoda to ask, “How many condoms were there in this case, tens of thousands?”

The prosecutor replied that there were more than 40,000, and the DJ asked, “What sort of inference is the court supposed to draw with the fact that he has 40,000 condoms in his possession?”

The DJ noted that while community-based sentences were available in regulatory offences such as in Song’s case, the decision still depended on the specific details of the each case.

“I do not agree with submissions in mitigation which said that he only played a physical role of storage of product (and) as such I am not calling for community-based sentencing reports,” he said.

In mitigation, Song’s lawyer said that her client was the sole breadwinner of the family supporting his fiancee and daughter while working in Singapore.

She said that Song received only $2,000 in monthly salary from February to May and needed to pay $600 in rental and $2,000 for his tuition fees per semester. The court then allowed Song to pay half his fine on Thursday and the rest in a 12-month instalment plan.

The seized condoms and pills were ordered to be disposed off by the HSA.

For supplying unregistered health products, Song could have been jailed up to two years or fined up to $50,000, or both.

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