AVA and ICA seized illegal import of corals found at importer’s premises

Source ; AVA.

Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) has announced that it seized an illegal import of corals at an importer’s premises on Thursday (30 March), adding that the importer is assisting AVA with investigations.

Acting on a tip-off on the illegal import of hard corals, AVA and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said that it worked with a logistics company to follow up on an imported consignment of corals from the Philippines, which had been declared as “plastic aquarium ornaments”.

At the importer’s premises, AVA noted that its officers seized 75 hard corals and five soft corals wrapped in plastic bags lined with paper and concealed in ceramic mugs. The corals are now under the care of the Resorts World Sentosa, while the case is being investigated.

Singapore is a signatory to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and hard corals are a protected species under CITES.

CITES permits are required for any import, export and re-export of CITES species, including their parts and products.

Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act, offenders can be fined up to S$50,000 per scheduled species (not exceeding a maximum aggregate of S$500,000) and/or up to 2 years imprisonment upon conviction.

AVA said that while soft corals are not protected by CITES, they were also seized as they had been falsely declared as “plastic aquarium ornaments” and were bundled together with the illegal shipment of hard corals.

AVA stressed that Singapore Government has zero tolerance on the use of Singapore as a conduit to smuggle endangered species.

ICA and AVA remind travellers against bringing live animals, birds and insects into Singapore without a proper permit.

The public can refer to AVA’s website or download AVA’s mobile app, SG TravelKaki (available free-of- charge from iTunes and the Google Play store), for more information on bringing back animals from overseas.

Members of the public with information on illegal wildlife activities may contact AVA at 6805 2992 or via AVA’s online feedback form. All information shared with AVA would be kept strictly confidential.

AVA officers found 75 hard corals and 5 soft corals, which had been falsely declared as “plastic aquarium ornaments”, wrapped in plastic bags lined with paper and concealed in ceramic mugs (Source ; AVA).
5 soft corals (left in box) and 75 hard corals (right), which had been illegally imported, were detected (Source : AVA).
Close up of the smuggled hard corals (Source : AVA).
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