Singapore busts network hunting contraband e-vaporisers via Telegram
Singapore has discovered a distribution network tracking e-vaporisers and other related components through Telegram. The messaging app was tapped to advertise and give the contraband products to a “large number of people” in chat groups.
The network was disrupted following a 24-hour operation on Jan. 6, which uncovered the illegal activity of hackers and peddlers, the Singapore Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said in a statement on Friday. The industry regulator said the items had an estimated street value of nearly SG $ 200,000 ($ 148,596).
Adding to the fact that two male and one female subjects were assisting with their research, HSA said: “They had used Telegram to provide illegal advertising and banned substances to many people in these playgroups.
“E-vaporiser smugglers and peddlers are using anonymous messaging applications, such as Wechat and Telegram, in an attempt to carry out their illegal activities in secret. sell the prohibited substances, "he said.
The Singapore Tobacco (Control of Advertising and Sale) Act prohibits the importation, circulation, sale or offer for sale of counterfeit tobacco products, including e-vaporisers, shisha tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. Bankers will be fined up to SG $ 10,000, or imprisoned for up to six months, or both for the first offense, and fined up to SG $ 20,000, or imprisoned for up to 12 months or both for the second offense or after that.
The law also prohibits the purchase, use and possession of such products. Breakers are fined up to SG $ 2,000.
Last October HSA seized a record of more than SG $ 2 million of e-vaporisers and related components.