So how is it that the cops still haven’t managed to catch this suspected foreign syndicate dabbling in the illegal cigarette trade?
Deception, disguise and discreet communication, it seems.
An anonymous eyewitness has reported the incidence of young men selling contraband smokes at the Aljunied area in Geylang.
The men are said to be in their 20s, and appear to be Vietnamese.
They have set up base at a shophouse stairwell, which is concealed by a well-positioned lamp post.
The rogue seller will stand at the stairwell with red plastic bags containing the contraband cigarettes.
He’ll shout out names of cigarette brands (not too loudly lah) while holding several packs of cigarettes in his hands.
Customers then rummage through the plastic bags, fish out the cigarettes they want, and pay the seller.
It’s a good deal for them – S$5.50 a pack compared to S$10 to S$13 for a pack of legal cigarettes (the ones that allow the government to earn tax money from you).
And it looks like business is booming as reports say a customer makes a purchase every few minutes (of course lah, half price hoon kee who don’t want right?).
A new young man reportedly replaces the previous one every week to sell the cigarettes.
It’s not as though our mata don’t patrol the area, so how the hell do these crooks evade the cops?
Rather, the rogue sellers manage to slip away minutes before the cops arrive, only to return to the same spot earlier when the coast is clear.
They’ve several kua zhui people – spotters armed with handphones and hands-free headsets to warn them when a cop is approaching.
We’re not going to tell you the exact location where the contraband hoon kee sellers ply their trade (you know, because we’re law-abiding citizens who rather cow beh cow bu about cigarette prices than go to jail).
But the next time you pass by the Geylang area and see someone with a red plastic bag and standing at a shophouse stairwell holding packs of cigarettes, you can choose to buy, or be a man and do the right thing (which is bao mata).
Remember, you have a choy.