$150,000 worth of illegal codeine cough syrup seized; 6 men and Bishan clinic under probe, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

$150,000 worth of illegal codeine cough syrup seized; 6 men and Bishan clinic under probe

This article is more than 12 months old

About 190 litres of illegal codeine cough syrup worth $150,000 and more than $680,000 in cash were seized in June in a multi-agency enforcement operation.

The amount of cough syrup seized is enough to feed 1,000 addicts.

In the biggest joint operation targeting illegal codeine syndicates since 2019, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and police officers from the Bedok Police Division also seized 34 e-vaporisers, eight packets of duty-unpaid cigarettes and an assortment of pills.

The syndicate, which allegedly supplied unregistered health products such as cough syrup and medicines, conducted illegal activities at various locations across the island, including at a licensed clinic in Bishan and in the vicinity of Lorong 34 Geylang.

Following the operation from June 14 to 16, six men – aged between 37 and 61 – are being investigated.

They are being investigated for offences under the Health Products Act, Customs Act and Tobacco Act, said the HSA, police and Ministry of Health in a joint statement on Saturday.

Among the six, four were arrested as suspected members of an unlawful society under the Societies Act and are being investigated for further offences under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the codeine was allegedly obtained from the clinic in Bishan before being processed for illegal sale in Geylang at a residential unit in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3.

The Health Ministry is investigating the clinic in Bishan and will take necessary enforcement actions if the investigations detect any breaches to the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act, the statement said.

The medical practitioner will also be referred to the Singapore Medical Council should any professional lapses be found.

The assortment of pills seized from a residential unit in Choa Chu Kang. PHOTO: HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY

HSA’s director of enforcement branch Annie Tan said: “Collaborative efforts between the police and HSA have enabled us to successfully uncover and disrupt the illegal supply of cough syrups and other medicines, thus preventing further harm to the public.

“HSA will continue to step up enforcement efforts and work with the relevant agencies on raid operations in targeted areas to crack down on the illegal supply of such medicines.”

Anyone convicted of importing, manufacturing or supplying illegal health products, or a combination of the above, can be jailed for up to two years or fined up to $50,000, or both.

Members of the public can report any activity involving illegal cough syrup to HSA on 6866-3485 or e-mail hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg

crimepolicemedicineMinistry of HealthHEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY