Two local vendors of electronic cigarettes have been slapped with very hefty fines for importing them into the country and selling them online.
33-year-old engineer Francis Chue Kar Fatt was fined $16,000, while 32-year-old property agent Zhang Zhaoming was fined $15,000, according to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA). Both pleaded guilty to all 10 of their charges.
Each of them had set up their own websites to sell vaping devices, getting supplies from Thailand and the United States. Their websites had been monitored through HSA’s online surveillance and enforcement activities, targeting illegal trading of e-cigarettes in Singapore.
Chue and his Thai wife, Rattikan Khamtong, were the first ones caught by the authorities for selling vaping devices online. In addition to offences related to selling and importing them, he also faced charges of obstructing HSA’s investigations by deleting his website and his PayPal account that had evidence of sales transactions.
Khamtong — who also ran an online vaping business — is believed to have left the country. A warrant of arrest has been issued.
Zhang got into the business with some help from Chue, and they had a profit-sharing agreement.
From December 15 onwards, Singapore will be enacting an even more severe policy against vapers here, as the authorities will begin slamming the ban hammer on emerging tobacco products including smokeless cigarettes, nicotine patches and especially e-cigarettes.
Even as British tobacco policy experts advised the Singapore government against enacting outright bans on vaping, it is very unlikely that they’ll change their minds on e-cigarettes. A recent empirical study conducted by the Public Health England has also outrightly proclaimed that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking, which goes against HSA’s reasoning to prohibit them here.
Photo: Vaping360 via Flickr