Illegal cigarette sellers who hide in the forest

About a dozen foreign men live in the forest near Zhenghua Flyover in Bukit Panjang. They drink, bathe and wash their clothes using water from a canal, and make a living selling duty-unpaid cigarettes, including to minors at playgrounds.
A man, suspected to be staying in the nearby forest at Chestnut Nature Park, washing his clothes using water from a monsoon drain. The men selling contraband cigarettes sprinting across a filter lane meant for vehicles exiting Bukit Timah Expressway
The men selling contraband cigarettes sprinting across a filter lane meant for vehicles exiting Bukit Timah Expressway to get to Bukit Panjang, posing a hazard to motorists.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
An upturned carpet, found under the Zhenghua Flyover in Bukit Panjang, is used as a temporary resting and sleeping platform for men who have been staying in the nearby forest.
An upturned carpet, found under the Zhenghua Flyover in Bukit Panjang, is used as a temporary resting and sleeping platform for men who have been staying in the nearby forest.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
The monsoon drain below Zhenghua Flyover in Bukit Panjang.
The monsoon drain below Zhenghua Flyover in Bukit Panjang.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Peddlers sell contraband cigarettes in housing estates and hide in forest to avoid detection

They stand in blind spots before sprinting across a filter lane, precariously dodging oncoming vehicles from Bukit Timah Expressway.

More than a dozen foreign men living in the forest near Zhenghua Flyover in Bukit Panjang are often seen doing this dangerous dash across the busy road. They also leave a trail of trash from their nocturnal activities.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 15, 2019, with the headline 'Smoking out illegal forest dwellers and their activities'. Print Edition | Subscribe