SINGAPORE: A 39-year-old man was sentenced to two months' jail on Wednesday (Mar 7) for illegally importing hard corals.
Cheng Yee Yong was found guilty of bringing in a consignment of corals from the Philippines which had been declared as "plastic aquarium ornaments".
All hard corals are protected species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and a valid CITES permit is required for their import or export, which Cheng did not have.
He was caught after authorities acted on a tip-off, said the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in a joint news release on Wednesday.
They worked with a logistics company to follow up on the case. At the importer's premises, AVA 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 Resorts World Sentosa.
Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act, those convicted of illegally importing protected species can be fined a maximum of S$500,000 and jailed up to two years.
"The Singapore Government has zero tolerance on the use of Singapore as a conduit to smuggle endangered species and their parts and derivatives," said AVA and ICA.