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Man fined record S$99k for peddling electronic vaporizers online

Coconuts logo Coconuts 9/9/2019 Coconuts Singapore
a bunch of items that are sitting on a table: Photo of electronic vaporizers and paraphernalia found at Chong Weisheng's home. Photo: Health Sciences Authority Photo of electronic vaporizers and paraphernalia found at Chong Weisheng's home. Photo: Health Sciences Authority

His online vaping business went up in smoke more than four years ago now, but the final financial ramifications fare only just hitting home for Chong Weisheng.

The 35-year-old was today fined a record S$99,000 for illegally peddling electronic vaporizers online, a case stemming from a March 2015 raid on his Bukit Panjang home.

According to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), Chong was advertising and selling a wide variety of vaporizers, including e-cigars, e-cigarettes, and e-pipes, on an e-commerce (how appropriate!) website he created, known as huntersbrew.net. Sorry, vape fans, the website has long been out of service, in case you were wondering.

a screenshot of a social media post: Screenshot of the huntersbrew.net website. Image: Health Sciences Authority © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited Screenshot of the huntersbrew.net website. Image: Health Sciences Authority

Prior to his arrest, Chong had even tried to evade the authorities by taking “extra measures to hide his illegal activities” after hearing “news of HSA’s raids” on other vape peddlers, the HSA said in a statement posted to their website today.

Photo of electronic vaporizers and paraphernalia found at Chong Weisheng’s home. Photo: Health Sciences Authority © Provided by Coconuts Media Limited Photo of electronic vaporizers and paraphernalia found at Chong Weisheng’s home. Photo: Health Sciences Authority

And just how did he go about that? Well, for one thing, Chong changed the website’s domain name twice to avoid detection, and added a password feature that meant potential customers had to be vetted before gaining access.

He also became “selective” with customers and labeled his transactions “computer IT services” to cover up his business, today’s statement said.

Chong is being slapped with the highest penalty on record for illegally selling vaping products, beating out a 2014 fine of S$64,000, according to HSA, which said that 20 people have so far been arrested for the same offense. 

Those found guilty of selling, possessing for sale, importing or distributing electronic vaporizers in Singapore could be fined up to S$10,000, jailed up to six months, or both, on the first offense. The penalty is doubled for the subsequent offense.

Meanwhile, those who possess, purchase or use vapes in Singapore could be fined up to S$2,000.

This article, Man fined record S$99k for peddling electronic vaporizers online, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. 

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