Teenager who helped his father sell illegal e-cigarettes on Instagram gets reformative


SINGAPORE: A teenager who helped sell electronic cigarettes to his friends after they came to know of his father’s illicit business was sentenced to reformative training on Thursday (Jan 25).

The 18-year-old cannot be named under the Children and Young Persons Act, as he was a minor at the time of the offences.

He will undergo at least a year’s detention in a reformative training centre, a structured approach aimed at rehabilitating young offenders.

The teen pleaded guilty to multiple charges relating to his sale of e-cigarettes and their components, as well as separate charges for rioting and selling his Singpass account.

There were another 16 charges considered in sentencing.

The court heard that the teen’s father, a 39-year-old Singaporean, sold e-cigarettes and related paraphernalia.

Both father and son had their own sets of e-cigarettes for their own personal consumption.

After the teen’s friends came to know that his father was selling e-cigarettes, they began buying the devices from the teen.

The teenager would draw from his father’s stock of prohibited tobacco items, or his father would pass him the stock.

The teen would then collect the payments from his friends and pass them to his father. He made no profit of his own.

The boy’s father admitted that he was aware that his son was selling the items in school or to his friends.

According to court documents, the father said he obtained his stock of e-cigarette devices and paraphernalia from a person known only as “Cyril”.

The father said Cyril would also refer customers to him. 

His son advertised the products on his Instagram account between May and June in 2021, offering flavours and giveaways if users shared the post.

HSA CATCHES WIND

Health Sciences Authority (HSA) officers received information that a father-and-son pair were running an illegal enterprise selling e-cigarettes.

They conducted an operation at the duo’s home at 6.30am on Aug 25, 2021 and seized 187 sets of e-cigarettes, 604 boxes of e-cigarette pods containing 1,812 pieces, and 115 loose pieces of e-cigarette pods.

Examination of the duo’s phones yielded peddling activities. The father made a profit of about S$200 (US$150) before he was caught.

The teenager separately admitted to being in group fights in July and August in 2022.

In the latter incident, a member from the teenager’s group asked another group member why he had “shot” their names to the police. The group member responded that he was pressured to do so, and a fight ensued.

The teen also admitted selling his Singpass account details sometime between September and October 2022.

He was promised S$4,000, but did not receive a single cent.

His Singpass account was later used to create bank accounts, one of which was used to dissipate at least S$8,300 from six scam victims.

The teen’s father had been sentenced to a week’s jail and a fine of S$8,500 on Jan 23.



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