Contraband cigarette clampdown must include daily operations

Clampdowns on contraband cigarettes, like the recent one, should be conducted more regularly (More than 150 caught with contraband cigarettes in three-day clampdown; Sept 13).

The demand for such contraband cigarettes is high and the number of people smoking them is huge. This can be seen from the frequent discovery of cartons of contraband cigarettes at the Customs.

Given the ubiquitous consumption of contraband cigarettes, it is bewildering why such operations are not conducted daily by the relevant agencies.

Manpower constraint is not a real reason as the increase in manpower required to catch contraband cigarette users is patently self-funding.

A look at the maths will show that a $500 fine for first-time offenders and the sheer numbers of potential offenders - not to mention the ease of catching an offender and the readily available evidence - will generate enough revenue to more than cover the additional resource allocation.

Relevant laws and powers are also already in place for enforcement.

Lim Teck Koon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2018, with the headline 'Contraband cigarette clampdown must include daily operations'. Print Edition | Subscribe