Man caught smuggling chewing tobacco sachets

Chewing tobacco sachets were hidden in compartments under the front passenger floor mat, in the boot and inside door panels.
Chewing tobacco sachets were hidden in compartments under the front passenger floor mat, in the boot and inside door panels.PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/IMMIGRATION AND CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY
Chewing tobacco sachets were hidden in compartments under the front passenger floor mat, in the boot and inside door panels.
Chewing tobacco sachets were hidden in compartments under the front passenger floor mat, in the boot and inside door panels.PHOTOS: FACEBOOK/IMMIGRATION AND CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY

A 35-year-old Malaysian man was caught smuggling more than 6,800 sachets of chewing tobacco via the Woodlands checkpoint .

An Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer noticed that the man appeared nervous and avoided eye contact when he arrived at the checkpoint in his car on Tuesday, ICA said in a Facebook post.

Sensing something amiss, officers checked further and found 6,821 sachets of chewing tobacco hidden in modified compartments under the front passenger floor mat, in the boot and inside the door panels.

The case is being investigated by the Health Sciences Authority, ICA said in its post on Wednesday.

ICA said it will continue to conduct security checks to prevent smuggling attempts.

In July last year, a man was jailed for four weeks for importing almost 5,000 sachets of chewing tobacco worth an estimated $9,200.

This was the first time anyone had been prosecuted under the amended Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, which includes a ban on emerging tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco. The amended Act came into force in August 2016.

Those convicted of importing, distributing or selling chewing tobacco products can be jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000 for the first offence.

Repeat offenders face double those penalties, and any chewing tobacco imported will be confiscated.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2018, with the headline 'Man caught smuggling chewing tobacco sachets'. Print Edition | Subscribe