ST May 4, 2008From this article, we learn that these Chinese, Vietnamese and Indonesian foreigners are getting their illegal cigarettes via cargo ships that dock at Jurong Port.
Cigarette peddlers show up in Geylang
Working in teams, they do their illegal trade in back alleys, side lanes
By Aw Cheng Wei
Peddlers from China and Vietnam are hawking bootleg cigarettes openly in the Geylang area, sometimes in broad daylight, and even stopping cars to sell their stash.
The cigarettes are smuggled in on board cargo ships which dock at Jurong Port, the peddlers claimed.
One seller, who said he was Vietnamese and spoke in halting English, said his shipborne supply comes from Indonesia. His teammate added in Mandarin: 'The ships come in daily and we pay on collection.'
Judging by the figures he gave, it is a lucrative business. The peddlers buy their contraband at about $2 for a pack of 20 sticks and resell them to street buyers. A 20-stick pack of Texas 5 costs $4.50 while a pack of Marlboro Red or Marlboro Menthol costs $5 or $6, half of what a duty-paid pack of Marlboro costs here.
The appearance of the Geylang peddlers comes on the heels of Indonesian peddlers who smuggled in bootleg cigarettes in small boats and sold them to passers-by in Woodlands, Yew Tee and Changi.
Police cracked down on these Indonesian smugglers in January.
Six of the seven peddlers The Sunday Times approached in Geylang last week were Vietnamese. The seventh was a Chinese Singaporean who looked no older than 18.
There are peddlers from China as well but The Sunday Times team did not manage to speak to them.
However, I am more interested to know how these foreigners got into Singapore in the first place. Who knows, Mas Selamat may well have gotten out of Singapore in the same way that these cigarette hawkers got in.
It's quite likely that at least some of these cigarette hawkers are illegal immigrants. If they had entered Singapore legally on a work permit, they'd have a job and probably wouldn't risk it by selling contraband cigarettes in broad daylight. They'd have to be at work anyway.
Interestingly, somebody else is in the news for alleged illegal hawking - Mr Chee Soon Juan. From the Today newspaper:
Tak boleh tahan, SDP says it again
Party cadres urge passersby to sign two petitions
Friday • May 2, 2008
WEARING red T-shirts with the Malay words "tak boleh tahan" — which means "cannot take it" — members of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) once again took to the streets, as they had done on May Day in previous years.
Last year, SDP chief Chee Soon Juan and his sister Chee Siok Chin walked around the island to raise awareness about poverty. This year, the pair, joined by other SDP members and supporters, descended on Toa Payoh Central and set up a booth at a walkway near Toa Payoh Community Library.
They then began to hand out leaflets containing accusations of greed and exploitation by the Government.
The SDP members, who were selling T-shirts, buttons and books at their booth, also urged passersby to sign two petitions.
The first, addressed to the Prime Minister, contained five demands relating to ministerial salaries, the entry of foreign workers, the release of Central Provident Fund savings and transparency in the financial dealings of Temasek Holdings and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC).
The second, to Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, urged him to resign over the escape of Jemaah Islamiyah detainee Mas Selamat Kastari from the Whitley Road Detention Centre — a suggestion that has been dismissed by the Prime Minister.
........ In response to media queries, the police said: "Police received a call from the Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council reporting that Chee Soon Juan was distributing pamphlets, and had set up a table selling books and T-shirts at Toa Payoh Central. Police observation in response to the call confirmed it."
Chee did not stage an unlawful assembly or an illegal outdoor demonstration.
"He was however peddling his books and T-shirts without a hawker's permit."
As this may be a case of illegal hawking, the Police has referred the matter to the National Environment Agency."
Surely it's only in Singapore that such a bizarre thing could happen.
The National Environment Agency was formed in 2002 to focus on the implementation of environment policies. It serves three main functions - environmental protection; maintenance of public health; and the provision of weather information through meteorological services.
The NEA is also in charge of pest control in Singapore. The agency regularly sends its officers around Singapore to deal with pests such as mosquitoes, cockroaches and rats.
It seems that the police authorities want the NEA to take on an additional role - deal with Opposition politicians who cannot be prosecuted for unlawful assembly or illegal outdoor demonstrations.
Chee Soon Juan may soon be treated as a pest - literally. So much for his human rights.