On 7 September 2020, at about 6.45am, officers from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) directed two arriving Malaysia-registered bowser lorries for further checks at Tuas Checkpoint.
2. During the course of checks, ICA officers uncovered black polythene packages, containing sachets of chewing tobacco, hidden in the engine compartments and drivers’ cabin bed bunks of the bowser lorries.
3. Following this detection, ICA officers also stepped up checks on other bowser lorries waiting in line for clearance. Additional polythene packages containing chewing tobacco were uncovered in three more arriving Malaysia-registered bowser lorries. A total of 26 packages containing 53,249 sachets of chewing tobacco were retrieved from the five bowser lorries.
4. The import and sale of chewing tobacco is prohibited in Singapore. The seized chewing tobacco was handed over to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and all five male Malaysian drivers were detained by HSA for further investigations.
5. Any person convicted of importing chewing tobacco is liable to a fine of up to $10,000, or imprisonment of up to six months or both for the first offence, and to a fine of up to $20,000, or imprisonment of up to 12 months or to both for the second or subsequent offence. All imported chewing tobacco will be seized and confiscated.
6. The public is strongly advised not to purchase prohibited tobacco products, nor bring prohibited tobacco products into Singapore. Members of the public who have information on the illegal import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of prohibited tobacco products can submit a report conveniently using the online form at www.go.gov.sg/reporttobaccooffences. Alternatively, they can contact HSA’s Tobacco Regulation Branch at Tel: 6684 2036 or 6684 2037 during office hours (9:00am to 5:30pm, Mondays to Fridays).
7. Our borders are our first line of defence in safeguarding Singapore’s security. The same method of concealment may be used by terrorists to smuggle arms and explosives to carry out attacks in Singapore. The ICA will continue to conduct security checks at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle undesirable persons, drugs, weapons, explosives and other contrabands across our borders.
IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY
HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY
14 SEPTEMBER 2020
| Black polythene packages containing chewing tobacco found in engine compartments. (Photos: ICA)