SINGAPORE: A 23-year-old man has been fined S$5,000 for illegally importing a White-Rumped Shama into Singapore by hiding it in a tube of potato chips, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) and Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a joint release on Wednesday (Jun 13).
Lim Ke Yi had hidden the tube of potato chips in the glove compartment of a Malaysia-registered car he was driving, and was caught at Woodlands Checkpoint on May 27.
Lim did not have a licence issued by AVA for the import of birds. A second charge of failure to ensure that the animal was not subjected to unnecessary suffering was taken into consideration.
The import of animals and birds without a licence is an offence under the Animals and Birds Act. Those convicted may be fined a maximum of S$10,000, jailed up to 12 months, or both.
The ICA said in a Facebook post on May 30 that the bird had been transferred to AVA's care following the discovery.
Animals that are smuggled into Singapore are of unknown health status and may introduce exotic diseases, such as bird flu, into the country, the AVA and ICA said in the release.
"Wildlife are not suitable pets as some may transmit zoonotic diseases to humans and pose a public safety risk if mishandled or if they escape into our dense urban environment. Non-native animals may also be a threat to our biodiversity if released into the environment," the release said.