SINGAPORE - A 41-year-old man was jailed and fined on Thursday (Nov 15) for bringing 4,560 sachets of chewing tobacco into Singapore last year.
On Aug 12, 2017, Kartigesy Seledory's vehicle was checked by officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) at Tuas Checkpoint as he drove into Singapore.
The officers found 2,460 sachets of Hans Chhap khaini tobacco hidden in the rear door panel and in the rear speaker panels of the vehicle.
According to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Khaini tobacco is a form of chewing tobacco that is intended to be used by placement in the mouth. It consists of moist, dark brown tobacco leaf, mixed with slaked lime or spices and has a distinctive smell.
Further investigations by the HSA revealed that Kartigesy had also smuggled in 2,100 sachets of Hans Chhap Khaini tobacco on Aug 10 last year. He claimed that he had been promised $250 by his acquaintance in Malaysia each time he managed to smuggle the prohibited products into Singapore.
The total street value of the 4,560 sachets is estimated to be between $4,560 and $9,120.
Kartigesy was sentenced to five weeks' jail and fined $250. He is the fourth person ever to be convicted and jailed for importing chewing tobacco, which is illegal in Singapore.
In a statement, the HSA reminded the public that the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of emerging tobacco products are prohibited under the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act.
Such products include shisha tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and chewing tobacco such as Gutkha, Khaini, Zarda, vaporisers and their constituents.
First-time offenders under this Act may be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both. For each count of the offence, repeat offenders can be fined up to $20,000, jailed up to 12 months, or both.
Additionally, since Feb 1 this year, the possession, purchase and use of emerging tobacco products has been prohibited in Singapore. Anyone who is found guilty of these may be fined up to $2,000 for each count of the offence.
The HSA strongly advised the public not to purchase or bring harmful tobacco products into Singapore.
Members of the public who have information on the prohibited sale of harmful tobacco products can call the HSA's Tobacco Regulation Branch on 6684-2036 or 6684-2037 from 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.