More than $130k worth of e-vaporisers and refill pods seized, 4 men assisting with investigations

Isabelle Liew
The Straits Times
May 25, 2022

Some 3,200 electronic vaporisers and more than 17,000 refill pods  concealed in three arriving Malaysia-registered lorries were seized by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints on May 9 and 13.

The estimated street value of the e-vaporisers and refill pods is more than $130,000, the ICA and Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said in a statement on Wednesday (May 25).

On May 9, officers thwarted an attempt to smuggle 8,520 pieces of e-vaporiser refill pods into Singapore in a lorry.

"Officers at Tuas Checkpoint directed the lorry for further checks and uncovered the e-vaporiser refill pods under a makeshift bed in the vehicle's cabin," ICA said.

In separate incidents on May 13, there were two attempts to smuggle disposable e-vaporisers and refill pods in two lorries - one at Tuas Checkpoint and the other at Woodlands Checkpoint.

Tuas Checkpoint officers found black bags disguised as a makeshift bed in one lorry's cabin. Inside, there were 3,200 pieces of disposable e-vaporisers and 6,000 refill pods.

In the other case at Woodlands Checkpoint, officers found several bundles of black trash bags hidden under the driver's seat and on top of the lorry's cabin.

A total of 2,700 pieces of refill pods were found.

Four Malaysian men, aged between 27 and 52, are assisting HSA with investigations.

ICA and HSA added that since April, seven cases of smuggling of e-vaporisers and related components in Malaysia-registered lorries have been detected at the checkpoints.

Two Malaysian men involved in one of the cases have each been sentenced to one week in jail and fined $1,500, while the remaining six cases are pending investigations or court action.

HSA said the import, distribution, sale and offer for sale of harmful or imitation tobacco products are illegal.

"These include shisha tobacco, smokeless tobacco, chewing tobacco such as Gutkha, Khaini, Zarda, e-vaporisers and their accessories," it said.

An offender can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both, for the first offence. He can be fined up to $20,000, jailed for up to 12 months, or both, for subsequent offences.

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