Singapore has uncovered a distribution network hawking e-vaporisers and other related components via Telegram. The messaging app was tapped to advertise and supply the contraband items to "a large number of people" in chatgroups.
The network was busted followed a 24-hour operation conducted on January 6, which uncovered the illegal activities of a distributor and peddlers, said Singapore's Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in a statement Friday. The industry regulator said the items had an estimated street value of almost SG$200,000 ($148,596).
Adding that two male and one female subjects were assisting in its investigation, HSA said: "They had used Telegram to illegally advertise and supply such prohibited items to a large number of people in these chatgroups.
"E-vaporiser smugglers and peddlers are using anonymous messaging applications, such as Wechat and Telegram, in a bid to conduct their illegal activities clandestinely. HSA had been closely monitoring the e-vaporiser distribution networks on platforms such as Telegram, which are used to sell the prohibited items," it added.
Singapore's Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act prohibits the import, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of imitation tobacco products, which include e-vaporisers, shisha tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. Violators face a fine of up to SG$10,000, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both for the first offence, and a fine of up to SG$20,000, or imprisonment of up to 12 months or both for the second or subsequent offence.
The law also prohibits the purchase, use, and possession of such products. Violators face a fine of up to SG$2,000.
HSA last October seized a record of more than SG$2 million worth of e-vaporisers and related components.