HSA raids homes of suspected e-cigarette sellers; shuts down their website

The suspects are said to have purchased prohibited products from overseas suppliers to sell via an e-commerce website, which has since been shut down by HSA. -- PHOTO: HSA 
The suspects are said to have purchased prohibited products from overseas suppliers to sell via an e-commerce website, which has since been shut down by HSA. -- PHOTO: HSA 

SINGAPORE -The Health Sciences Authority's (HSA) Tobacco Regulation Branch raided two residences at Yishun Street 81 and Seletar Hills Estate on Thursday.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the two suspects, Singaporean males aged 33 and 38, were business partners. They are said to have purchased prohibited products from overseas suppliers to sell via an e-commerce website, which has since been shut down by HSA. The suspects are currently assisting with investigations.

The transaction records seized revealed that the sellers had engaged in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) sales totalling more than $90,000.

The suspects were identified through HSA's online surveillance and investigation.

HSA has prosecuted eight people since 2011 for selling such products. The stiffest penalty meted out so far was $64,500 for the illegal sale of e-cigarettes.

HSA in a statement on Friday reminded the public that it is an offence under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sales) Act to import, distribute or sell e-cigarettes, e-pipes, and e-cigars.

Offenders can be fined up to $5,000 for the first offence and up to $10,000 for a second or subsequent offence.

HSA encourages members of the public who have information on the illegal importation, distribution or sales of e-cigarettes to call 6684-2036 or 6684-2037 during office hours.