Man fined $7,600 for illegal import and possession of wildlife

Leopard tortoise hidden inside the eyewear case (Source: AVA).

A 28-year-old was fined $4,000 for the illegal import of a Leopard tortoise and an additional $3,000 fine for the possession of an African Spurred tortoise and $600 for keeping a Razor-back musk turtle at his place of residence.


This was revealed by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) in a joint press release on Thursday (17 October), stating that the charges for the possession of a Mekong snail-eating turtle and keeping a snake-necked turtle were taken into consideration during the sentencing.

The authorities stated that under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Leopard tortoise, African Spurred tortoise and Mekong snail-eating turtle are protected.

In the incident which happened on 13 April 2018, ICA officers from Woodlands checkpoint detected a Leopard tortoise hidden in an eyewear case placed in the glove compartment of a Singapore-registered car. The case was then referred to AVA for further investigations.     

On the same day, AVA conducted follow-up checks at the Joey Law Swee Siang’s residence and detected four other illegal wildlife, an African Spurred tortoise, a Razor-back musk turtle, a Mekong snail-eating turtle, and a snake-necked turtle.

The animals, which are not approved pets, were seized and placed in the care of the Wildlife Reserves Singapore, stated the authorities.

(Clockwise from top left) An African spurred tortoise, a razor-backed musk turtle, a leopard tortoise and a Mekong snail-eating turtle (Source: AVA).

The bodies stressed that animals that are smuggled into Singapore are of unknown health status and may introduce exotic diseases into the country.

They also stated that the keeping and trading of wildlife and wildlife parts/products, is an offence in Singapore and offenders shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000 and to the forfeiture of the wildlife.

If the wildlife species is protected under CITES, offenders in possession of or found selling illegally imported CITES-protected species shall be liable on conviction to a fine of up to $500,000 and/or 2 years’ imprisonment, and to the forfeiture of the specimens.

For more information on CITES-listed animals please refer to the CITES website.

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