2 men fined $31,000 for illegal online sale of e-cigs

SINGAPORE - Two men have been found guilty for the illegal online sale of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and fined a total of $31,000.

Chue Kar Fatt Francis, 34, and his friend, Zhang Zhaoming, 32, were fined sums of $16,000 and $15,000 respectively.

They had purchased e-cigarettes illegally from overseas suppliers in Thailand and the US for sale locally, on two websites.

Chue and his wife, Rattikan Khamtong, were first caught by Health Sciences Authority (HSA) for selling e-cigarettes online. Despite this, Chue persisted in helping his friend, Zhang to set up another website to sell the illegal products.

E-cigarettes with an estimated street value of around $20,000 in total were seized from the peddlers during the raids.

Rattikan, 30, who was also charged in court, failed to turn up for the hearing. She has reportedly left the country and a Warrant of Arrest has been issued.

Chue and Rattikan were also charged for obstructing HSA's investigations by deleting related online evidence of their offences.

The two websites that were managed by the peddlers to sell the e-cigarettes have been shut down.

These cases were detected through HSA's online surveillance and enforcement activities, which are targeted at deterring the illegal trade of e-cigarettes in Singapore. From 2011 to date, HSA has prosecuted 10 people for selling e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are strictly prohibited in Singapore

HSA would like to remind the public that the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of any article that is designed to resemble a tobacco product is prohibited. This includes vaporisers such as e-cigarettes, e-pipes, and e-cigars.

Any person who is convicted of the offence is liable to a fine not exceeding $5,000 for the first offence and a fine not exceeding $10,000 for the second or subsequent offence for each count of the offence. Any e-cigarettes imported will be seized and confiscated.

The public are strongly advised to not purchase or bring e-cigarettes into Singapore. The public should also refrain from using e-cigarettes and discard any e-cigarettes they have in possession.