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Illegal items found on e-commerce platforms disguised as other goods

According to local news sources, several Singapore-based sellers on e-commerce sites like Amazon and Lazada were discovered to mislabel illegal goods in an effort to avoid being caught.

E-vaporizers, which have been prohibited in the area for three years, are one of the things that vendors frequently conceal.
According to The Straits Times, officials forbade the sale and use of electric vaporizers in 2019 out of concern that such gadgets would serve as a gateway for young people to start smoking cigarettes.

Mislabeled Illegal Products

Sadly, e-cigarettes are not the only illegal goods offered on sites with fictitious labels.

The same report from The Straits Times claims that a glass straw-like drug apparatus used to inhale methamphetamine was being offered for $15 on various online markets.

E-cigarettes are classified as fruit-scented incense burners with up to 800 uses in online stores. Customers in Singapore could have it delivered to their homes in a week at the earliest if they paid an extra $7.77 on top of the $19.99 price. Another marijuana smoking apparatus cost $14.93 and was marketed as a “hydroponic plant vase.”

In July 2021, CNA reported that thirteen individuals had received fines ranging from S$3,000 to S$53,500 for selling electronic vaporizers and associated parts online in Singapore. Additionally, for separate offences, two of the 13 received sentences of 33 months and 13 weeks in jail.

According to the same article, there are also dealers on social media platforms like Instagram. Some of these dealers post pictures of the products they are selling on Instagram stories, which are hard to find because they are only viewable for 24 hours.

Additionally, there are accusations that point to the existence of Telegram channels where suppliers frequently post messages about their goods and associated hardware.

E-commerce Sites Responds

Lazada, an e-commerce company, responded to inquiries about its position on the existence of such illegal listings on its website by stating that it has a “zero-tolerance” policy for things outlawed in Singapore being offered on their sites.

A Lazada representative who spoke to the media said that retailers that exhibit forbidden items are subject to a range of non-compliance points up to a maximum of 48, which can result in the permanent closure of their businesses.
Vendors who are discovered to be selling drugs and products associated with drugs shall automatically face the penalties listed above. Media outlets in the region point out that the majority of sellers are overseas.

Similar to this, Amazon has an international policy that restricts the sale of e-vaporizers and drug paraphernalia. Due to an error in the listing of the previously accessible prohibited items, they were able to avoid detection.

Third-party sellers are independent businesses and must abide by all laws, rules, and Amazon standards when listing things for sale in our shop, according to an Amazon spokesperson, who also warned that violators risk having their accounts cancelled.

The authorities work with these platforms to delete any listings that they suspect are promoting illegal products.

Between January and October, the Health Sciences Authority banned more than 4,000 online ads for contraband tobacco-related products.

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