Man jailed for smuggling 22 live star tortoises

Channel NewsAsia 25 Apr 18;

SINGAPORE: A 50-year-old man was on Wednesday (Apr 25) sentenced to one month's jail for smuggling 22 live star tortoises into Singapore.

Khalid Awad Bamadhaj was caught at Woodlands Checkpoint on Jun 23, 2016.

The tortoises were found in a cloth bag which was placed in the car boot together with bags of groceries, said the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in a joint news release.

The reptiles were Indian star tortoises, a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). They are not allowed to be kept as pets.

Authorities said investigations showed that Khalid did not have a permit to import the tortoises, which he had intended to keep as pets. The tortoises are now under the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore, according to the joint news release.

A charge of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to animals was taken into consideration during sentencing.

"Travellers are reminded not to import or keep wild animals as pets as demand for such animals would fuel illegal wildlife trade," said authorities in their joint news 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."

Source: CNA/na/(gs)

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