815 birds seized at Woodlands Checkpoint; largest loot in recent years

ICA thwarted the smuggling attempt in the morning of Aug 10.

Andrew Koay | August 11, 2019 @ 05:46 pm


The authorities have stopped an attempt to smuggle over 800 birds into Singapore.

The bust came on August 10, 2019, at 7am after the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) stopped a Malaysia-registered bus for a security check upon its arrival at the Woodlands Checkpoint.

Hidden compartments

Driven by a 35-year-old Malaysian man, the bus drew suspicion from officers after they detected signs of modification around the rear tyres of the bus.

Their suspicions were further aroused when they heard chirping sounds coming from within the bus.

Further scrutiny uncovered 15 containers of 815 birds hidden away in modified compartments above the bus’ rear tyres.

Image from ICA
Image from ICA

The driver was then referred to the National Parks Board (NParks) for further investigation after it was found that he did not possess valid health certificate and import permits.

Five different species

A joint statement by ICA and NParks called the discovery “the largest seizure of ornamental birds in Singapore in recent years” and reported that there were five different species of birds found in the seizure.

This included:

  • 38 White-rumped Shamas
  • 10 Oriental Magpie-Robins
  • 141 Oriental White-eyes
  • 626 Munias (Scaly-breasted Munia and White-headed Munia)

Only around 600 of the birds survived.

They are currently being cared for and quarantined in NPark’s facilities.

Strict regulation of the import of animals

The statement warned that animals smuggled into Singapore were of unknown health statuses and put the country at risk of the introduction of exotic diseases such as bird flu.

The smuggling process is often detrimental to the health of animals, the statement said.

Additionally, the illegal wildlife trade impacts the biodiversity and ecosystems of both source countries and the countries where the wildlife ends up in

“As such, NParks strictly regulates the import of animals to prevent the introduction of exotic diseases into Singapore, safeguard the health and welfare of animals, and to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

The ICA and NParks would like to remind travellers against bringing live animals, birds and insects into Singapore without a proper permit.”

Under the Animals and Birds Act, the importation of any animal without a permit carries a maximum penalty of S$10,000 and imprisonment of up to one year.

Moreover, anyone who is found guilty of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to any animal can be fined up to S$15,000 and be jailed for up to 18 months.

Top image from ICA and Nparks

About Andrew Koay

Andrew listens to Fall Out Boy's timeless hit song Sugar, We're Goin Down every single day of his life.

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