SINGAPORE: A fish and corals shop owner was sentenced to four weeks' jail on Thursday (Jul 23) for his involvement in smuggling five Goniopora live corals into Singapore.
Yang Tsai Bing was caught after an Immigration & Checkpoints Authority officer from the Singapore Cruise Centre found a man Yang worked with, Izam Naning, in possession of the live coral pieces inside his luggage after arriving from Batam on a ferry.
Izam did not declare the corals to the authorities, nor did he possess a licence to import the product when he was caught on Sep 22, 2019.
Izam, who was sentenced to a two months’ jail term on Oct 1 last year, sold the corals to Yang, according to documents from the National Parks Board.
Yang got to know Izam through Facebook after he saw pictures of corals on his account.
In May 2019, Yang, who ran a shop at Block 264 Tampines Street 21, started talking to Izam, who later asked Yang if he was interested to purchase the corals from him.
When Yang asked if it was safe, Izam assured him it was and that he had been bringing in corals for more than 10 years.
In the final transaction before both men were caught, Yang ordered five pieces of the Goniopora live corals from Izam.
Yang, who pleaded guilty on Thursday to the charge he faced, was sentenced for abetting the illegal import of the hard corals from Indonesia into Singapore under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act.
Under the Act, Yang could have been jailed for up to two years, fined S$50,000, or both.