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Jail for returning employment pass holder nabbed at Changi Airport with cannabis vape pen

SINGAPORE — A Canadian man was jailed 16 weeks on Wednesday (Jan 27) for possessing a vaporiser containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

Jail for returning employment pass holder nabbed at Changi Airport with cannabis vape pen

The court heard that Moher Daniel Redmond concealed a vape pen containing the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis when he arrived at Changi Airport after a visit to North America.

  • Daniel Redmond Moher, 29, pleaded guilty to possessing a Class A controlled drug
  • He said a friend gave him a vape pen containing the main psychoactive compound in cannabis
  • Such a device is legal in Canada, but Moher hid it in his luggage, knowing it was illegal in Singapore
  • He used the drug out of grief after a close friend in Singapore died, his lawyer said

SINGAPORE — A Canadian man was jailed 16 weeks on Wednesday (Jan 27) for possessing a vaporiser containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis.

Daniel Redmond Moher, 29, was on a Singapore employment pass when he was caught at Changi Airport with the vape pen in his luggage in 2019 upon his return.

The vape had at least 0.35g of a gel-like substance that contained THC — sufficient for one dose. Moher hid the device in a deodorant bottle as he knew it was illegal to have it in Singapore.

He pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a Class A controlled drug, with another charge of possessing a drug utensil taken into consideration for sentencing.

Court documents did not give details of his employment.

The Ministry of Manpower's website states that an employment pass allows foreign professionals, managers and executives to work in Singapore. Candidates need to earn at least S$4,500 a month and have acceptable qualifications.

In sentencing him, District Judge Jennifer S Marie noted the “exceptional circumstances” surrounding the case.

Moher’s friend in Canada had given him the vape, which is legal there. Moher was devastated by his close friend’s death in Singapore. He then took the drug out of “grief and despair” and this was out of character for him, the judge said.

Nevertheless, she warned that the court needs to “send the right signal that those who bring into Singapore controlled drugs, even though the possession is legal elsewhere, will not be let off with a slap on the wrist”.

The sentence was neither unduly harsh nor lenient, she added.


The court heard that Moher was leaving an arrival hall at Terminal 2 of Changi Airport on May 16, 2019 when an officer stopped him to conduct a routine screening of his luggage.

Moher had flown back to Singapore from San Francisco in the United States.

He replied in the negative when the officer asked him if he had anything to declare.

Shortly after, the X-ray machine showed something in his luggage that looked like an electronic cigarette. The officer then found a bag of toiletries but no e-cigarette there.

Moher admitted there was a “CBD (cannabidiol) pen” hidden in a deodorant bottle in the toiletries bag when the officer said that he would put the bag through another X-ray scan.

Moher was placed under arrest for drug-related offences.

He later admitted that he intended to smoke the drug and felt high after smoking similar substances overseas.

CBD, which is usually used in medical cannabis, is advertised overseas as being able to provide relief for conditions such as anxiety, depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cannabis is also known as marijuana or weed.


Deputy Public Prosecutors Nicholas Wuan and Lu Yiwei sought at least four months’ jail, reduced from six months due to Moher’s contrition, his early plea of guilt and co-operation with the authorities.

His lawyer, Mr Wendell Wong from Drew & Napier, asked for three months’ jail instead, pointing out his client’s remorse and the unique facts of the case.

On why his client made this mistake, Mr Wong said: “It was in the context of a very difficult period of time for him where he had just suddenly lost his best friend in Singapore, whom he considered like a baby brother to him.” 

Testimonials written by the friend’s family showed that Moher was emotionally affected by the loss.

Mr Wong also pointed out that the vape pen could not be refilled once he finished using it.

The lawyer revealed that they could have pursued a legal question as to the specific weight of the gel-like substance found in the vape, but Moher chose not to do so in order to save court resources.

“He understands that in Singapore, he has to abide by the laws here. He has gone through so much that he has to seek medical help from time to time. His family members are very concerned about him,” Mr Wong added.

Moher was also given permission to address the court. He thanked District Judge Marie for her compassion and in considering a lower sentence.

His voice shaking at times, he said: “I don’t have much else to say other than echoing Wendell’s thoughts. I made a mistake; I am very sorry and very ashamed of it. But I have no excuses and I’d like to just get on with my life.”

For possessing a Class A controlled drug, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to S$20,000, or both.

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