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Dog farm manager jailed for forging animal import & export documents

The operations manager of a dog farm was on Tuesday jailed six months by a district court for forging documents used in the import and export of pets. 26-year-old Tan Moh Tien - who worked for Pet Movers at Pasir Ris Farmway 2 - had pleaded guilty to the offences in November last year.

SINGAPORE: The operations manager of a dog farm was on Tuesday jailed six months by a district court for forging documents used in the import and export of pets.

26-year-old Tan Moh Tien - who worked for Pet Movers at Pasir Ris Farmway 2 - had pleaded guilty to the offences in November last year.

The prosecution proceeded on three of the nine forgery charges brought against him, with the remaining charges taken into consideration for sentencing.

In addition to the forgery charges, Tan also admitted to misappropriating a rubber stamp bearing the logo of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA).

The court heard that Tan got hold of the stamp in January 2013, following a visit to AVA's Changi Animal and Plant Quarantine Station (CAPQ) at Changi Airfreight Centre to send two dogs for inspection and get some documents endorsed.

He was handed an envelope containing the endorsed documents and found the rubber stamp inside when he opened the envelope later.

He decided to keep the stamp to use when the need arose.

He later used the stamp to fraudulently endorse documents for the export of pets to Taiwan, Japan and Australia.

He was found out in March 2013, when Australian authorities alerted the AVA that one of two dogs taken into Australia had failed to comply with their import requirements.

The dog had tested positive in Singapore for a disease known as Ehrlichia canis, but the Australian import permit had indicated a negative result.

Investigations showed that the dogs' owner had engaged Pet Movers to process the export of the animals from Singapore to Australia.

Tan had then prepared the dog's import permit - which bore AVA's stamp on each page and signature which purportedly belonged to AVA's Import and Export Regulation Department Manager.

The permit also stated that the dog had been certified for import into Australia.

It was later discovered that Tan had not submitted the permit to AVA to endorse.

Instead, he had stamped each page himself, forged the signatures, and submitted the permit to the Australian authorities.

In handing down the sentence, District Judge Eugene Teo pointed out that Tan had no right to convert a stamp belonging to the AVA to his own use, and that he had forged the documents without being a qualified regulator or veterinarian.

He said that Tan's actions had struck at the heart of AVA's export approval regime.

"This affects the trust with which these authorities view AVA's papers," he added.

For forgery, Tan could have been jailed up to four years and fined, and for dishonestly misappropriating the rubber stamp and dishonestly converting it to his own use, he could have been jailed up to two years and fined. 

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