Two teens under probe for selling police insignia items

From a General's cap badge and rare medals to kevlar helmets, uniforms and even a rifle cleaning kit, items from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), police and civil defence are being sold online.

The unauthorised sale of apparel and equipment is an offence, but such items are still being openly sold on e-commerce websites such as eBay and mobile marketplaces like Carousell.

Two teens are being investigated for selling police insignia items.

The police yesterday said they had received two reports that the teens, aged 15 and 19, had sold items such as police medals and police service ribbons on various online platforms without a licence.

For this offence under the Police Force Act, a person convicted may be jailed for up to three years, or fined up to $10,000, or both.

The illegal sale can have worrying consequences. Last week, a truckload of used camouflage uniforms with SAF tags on them was seized from suspected smugglers in Batam, by the Indonesian navy.

In a statement dated Nov 11, SAF's Chief Supply Officer, Colonel Terry Tan, said servicemen are not allowed to sell any items of army equipment issued to them, and those caught doing so will face disciplinary action,

"Only authorised vendors are allowed to sell or dispose of army uniforms," he added.

E-commerce platforms like Carousell are an easy place to find items such as uniforms and berets.

One seller has an extensive collection of military memorabilia, some of which were listed about eight months ago.

When contacted, the seller said he did not know it was illegal to sell such items. Hesaid other collectors had sought his help to source for items such as badges.

A Carousell spokesman advised users to follow its guidelines and avoid posting prohibited and restricted items. Users who post such items may have their accounts suspended, the spokesman added.

"We have existing processes in place to monitor our marketplace for quality and safety. Where required, we will be happy to work with the relevant authorities to ensure an enjoyable and meaningful experience for our community."

When contacted, a spokesman for eBay said the online site had taken down items such as police medals yesterday afternoon.

"We decided it is better to be safe than sorry, and we took them off," he said. "What we will do now is put in place filters and backend systems to stop any further potential listings being placed on the site."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'Two teens under probe for selling police insignia items'. Print Edition | Subscribe