Jail, fine for seller of e-cigarette parts caught in HSA undercover operation

SINGAPORE - An online seller of electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, components was caught following an undercover operation by Health Sciences Authority (HSA) enforcement officers, after they made a "test purchase".

Michael Khong Soon Kee was fined $7,000 on Wednesday (July 28) after he pleaded guilty to three charges under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act.

The 32-year-old Singaporean was also sentenced to two years and three months' jail over five unrelated cheating charges.

Investigations revealed that some time in May 2019, Khong published an advertisement on Facebook under the profile name "HeavenlyDesire".

By doing so, he had provided a platform for interested parties to communicate with him about buying e-cigarette components, which are imitation tobacco products.

HSA officers conducted their undercover operation and on May 30 that year, Khong led them to a room at the Home Suite View Hotel in Lorong 12 Geylang where they found multiple items linked to e-cigarettes.

The officers seized the products and he was apprehended.

Separately, Khong also admitted that he had come up with two scams in June 2019 to cheat his victims of nearly $3,000 in total.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jonathan Tan said: "First, he posted false advertisements selling e-scooters on Carousell and Shopee. However, he did not have any stock of e-scooters and did not intend on fulfilling any of the sales orders.

"Instead, he dishonestly induced the victims to transfer various sums of monies to him which he used for personal expenses."

For his second ruse, Khong ordered cooked food from caterers under the pretext that he would pay cash on delivery.

He then provided cheques that he knew would be dishonoured as he had no money in his bank accounts.

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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