“How does fine of less than 10% of the max send a message?”
SINGAPORE––The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore on February 10, 2014 announced that Ong Ming Shiang, 33, had been fined a record $41,000 Singapore dollars (about $32,310 U.S.) for illegal possession of 32 smuggled exotic animals.
But the case “really puzzles me,” said Animal Concerns Research & Education Society president Louis Ng. “He could have been fined up to $500,000 and sentenced to a jail term of up to two years. He was caught with evidence suggesting that he kept the animals to sell. How does the fine of less than 10% of the maximum, with no jail term, send a deterrent message? What exactly does one have to do, to receive the maximum penalty?”
19 of 32 animals on CITES Appendix I
Altogether, 19 of the 32 animals seized from Shiang’s apartment on June 3, 2013 were listed on CITES Appendix I, meaning that they were of internationally recognized endangered species.
Among the animals were a Sunda slow loris, three ball pythons, two Indian star tortoises, and three leopard tortoises.
The raid netted more animals than all Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore seizures of exotic species in 2012 combined.
ACRES on February 13 asked the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority to appeal, seeking a stiffer sentence.