An Indian man has been jailed for four weeks today for importing chewing tobacco products into Singapore – becoming the first person to be convicted of such a crime under the amended tobacco law.
Amendments have been made in the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, which banned emerging tobacco products. The law has come into effect from August 1 last year.
Kavinthiran had imported nearly 5,000 sachets of Hans Chhap Tobacco, having a value of SGD9,200. The sachets contained 55 kg of khaini tobacco, a type of chewing tobacco banned for import, distribution and sale in Singapore.
Kavinthiran drove a rental car from Johor Baru to Woodlands Checkpoint on January 3, and was stopped by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority officers for checks.
The sachets of tobacco were found hidden in various parts of the car, including the rear panel of the boot and the side door panels. He had rented the vehicle just to bring these prohibited products into Singapore.
Investigations into the case revealed that he had worked with an acquaintance in Malaysia to import the banned chewing tobacco into Singapore, and would be paid for a successful delivery.
He could have been fined up to SGD10,000, jailed a maximum of six months, or both for a first-time offence.